How to Pick Your Own Blueberries
at Plow Creek Farm
in Tiskilwa, Illinois

picking blueberries

Picking your own blueberries has its benefits, but also its responsibilities.

You have fun and the pleasure of getting your own food. You can be outside with family or friends. It is educational for those who have not picked their own berries before. You do the quality control, making sure the blueberries are not dried out or underripe. And picking your own blueberries costs lots less.

We have done a lot of work planting, watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, and otherwise taking care of the blueberry plants. It is your responsibility to treat them well.  Be especially careful of baby blueberry plants that have recently been planted in the gaps between the big plants.

family picking blueberries

How to pick Blueberries

We will give you a plastic picking bucket.It will probably have a short rope loop on it to hang on your neck or shoulder. But it is really more comfortable when the bucket of blueberries starts getting heavier to hang the bucket on a belt. We often have some extra belts to lend. Some also tie it to a belt loop. On busy days we can run short of buckets and we appreciate it if you bring your own.

Usually we will show you where to start picking, usually at a flag, like with our strawberriesWhen you finish please leave the flag where you quit picking.

Blueberries are ripe when they are all dark blue.  The portion around the stem turns color last; if it is red, yellow, or green, the berry is not quite ripe.  Expect to make some mistakes and get some less than fully ripe berries; that's ok.  They berries that are not quite ripe are more tart, and mixed together with the ripe berries gives a good flavor.

Usually it is most efficient to cup your hand under the blueberries and fill your hand before putting the berries in your bucket.  It is fun when a whole big cluster is fully ripe, but check for green berries before grabbing a whole cluster at once. Generally a whole cluster does not ripen at once (unless you use chemicals that we don't want to use.)

Some bushes are better than others, but we ask if you start picking on a bush you do a fairly thorough job of picking all the blueberries that are ready.

Blueberries like to hide.  Look in the middle of the bush and down low.

Sometimes blueberry picking is hot work. Some like a broad brimmed hat. Please drink plenty of water; we don't want to have to call an ambulance for you. We have water available at our stand. Coming early avoids some of the heat. We usually have a few chairs to rest on in the shade of our tent.

Please be very careful if you cross through a row.  It is easy to break small branches.  And remember those baby blueberry plants in the gaps.

Except during our self-serve picking times later in the season, we will have our friendly staff available to help you. Feel free to ask for help or ask any question.

Blueberries are sold by weight. We will weigh them for you and calculate what you owe. We accept cash or checks. (Sorry, no credit cards.) It would be great if you brought your own container to bring your blueberries home in, but we have a limited number of flats that you can use, unless we run out. We may have waxed flats for 50 cents each, or plenty of free plastic bags.

Self-Serve Blueberry Picking

Usually nearer the end of blueberry season, we quit staffing the field and are open for longer hours for self-serve picking. We will continue to supply picking buckets. Start picking at a yellow flag and go downhill. Planting the flag where you quit picking. You may skip unproductive bushes, but please pick the side of the bushes that you do choose to pick thoroughly. There will be a scale at the table or trailer. Price is $2.90 / pound. You may put your payment in the locked box.

See also Blueberry Overview, Blueberry Pictures and Blueberry News

Other Pick Your Own crops include:
    Strawberries, Blackberries and Raspberries.

To get to our blueberry field, enter at the Blueberry Hill sign, 175 yards east of our Market Barn.

For schedule and availability of strawberries and other crops, visit our Crop Calendar or Farm Headlines page, which is updated daily during harvest season.


Before you come,
 check our
Daily Update
to be sure we
are open.

"The best berries are the ones you pick yourself."

Some people say "pick your own" (PYO), "Pick it yourself" or "self-pick"; others say "You-Pick" which is written "U-pick", "U-pik" or even "U-pic", but any which way, it is a fun and economical way to get the fresh blueberries you want.

Bring the family or the gang. Children are very welcome -- even if they eat more than they put in their containers.

Plow Creek Farm is located near Tiskilwa, IL
(Bureau County), about 8 miles south of Princeton.