How to Pick Your Own
at Plow Creek Farm
in Tiskilwa, Illinois
Picking your own blueberries has its benefits, but also
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.
How to pick Blueberries
We will give you a picking bucket, such as a gallon ice cream
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 strawberries
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. The 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
Blueberries like to hide. Look in the middle of the bush and down
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 $2.40 / pound. You may put your payment
in the locked box.
See also Blueberry Overview
and Blueberry News
Other Pick Your Own crops include:
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
page, which is updated daily during harvest season.