Farms & U-Pick

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Best Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Farms and Festivals for NJ Families

Blueberry picking is a perfect summer activity for the whole family: the bushes are low, the berries pop off the plants easily, and your family can literally pick hundreds without breaking the bank—or your back hauling them home. Lucky for us, blueberries are the official state fruit of New Jersey, and they are plentiful throughout the Garden State. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best pick-your-own farms and blueberry festivals NJ has to offer for kids. Happy picking!

Where to Pick Your Own Blueberries, Blackberries, and More on Long Island

Summer is a great time to pick berries on Long Island. Bushes are low to the ground, and berries are small enough for little fingers to grasp. It's a great activity for kids of all ages, and, really, who can resist a bowl of fresh berries and cream?

Late July is peak season for blueberries and raspberries. Blackberries ripen in August. Be sure to call the farms before heading out to confirm picking hours and berry availability. Don't forget to check out our Pick Your Own Guide for more fruit-picking options in the tristate area.

Some tips: Don't forget sunscreen as the sun can shine brightly on these open fields. Dress appropriately; kids can get a bit dirty. And for health and safety reasons, pets are not permitted on farms.

The East End is the prime destination for summer berry picking on Long Island. While there, why not consult our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork and make a day of it? Or for more farm fun, check out our list of LI's top animal farms and petting zoos.

Boston-Area CSA and Farm Shares that are Great for Families

Maybe you’ve been wondering: what is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs allow members to buy shares in local harvests. As a CSA member, you pay for a season of produce, and receive weekly boxes or bags of prime pickings from the farm. We joined one recently, and found it was a great, economical way to get kids to try healthy new foods—and support our local farm at the same time.

There are a few catches about joining a CSA. First, you don't typically get to pick what arrives in your share each week, which can prove daunting if you have children who are seriously picky or have rigid nutritional needs. If you are gone for much of the growing season, paying for weekly vegetables might not make a ton of sense—though many some farms allow you to skip weeks. But if you're mainly local, interested in trying to eat more regional produce, and are willing to get a little creative with your cooking, a CSA is definitely worth trying. 

For my family, it worked out well, and my kids ended up trying a lot of new fruits and vegetables that I might never have bought in the store (though we did end up feeding our backyard bunny more than his fair share of dandelion greens). Some of the CSA programs, like Wilson Farm, offer recipes and suggestions for what to do with your share, which are really helpful.

With such a wide variety of options including the programs below, you're likely to find a CSA that will work for your family. Many offer deliveries or conveniently located pick up sites, and there is an array of prices and sizes and produce choices from which to choose. Should you decide to join one, everybody wins: you get fresh, healthy food and local farmers get the financial support they need and deserve.

Strawberry Festivals Around Boston This Summer

Strawberry picking is a nice, low-key summer activity to enjoy with the kids, but sometimes you want to kick it up a notch. These Boston-area farms, markets and restaurants are doing exactly that with June festivals featuring hayrides, bouncy houses, live entertainment and fun for kids. There's also plenty of strawberry shortcake to try, plus other delightful treats, too.

So bring your kids and your appetite: It's time to celebrate strawberry season!

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