While Louisiana’s farmers markets are great spots for picking up fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies, so are our pick-your-own farms.
In fact, a visit to a Louisiana pick-your-own farm is the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning with your family. Teach your kids about where their food really comes from, and savor the flavors of berries fresh off the vine.
No matter what you’re picking, there are a few things to keep in mind for your visit. Always call the farm in advance to inquire about hours and make sure the produce is prime for picking. Some pick-your-own farms post updates on crops and farm conditions on their websites or Facebook pages. Also ask if baskets and other picking supplies are provided.
Remember, you’re visiting a farm, so dress appropriately. Wear closed-toe shoes, loose clothing and a hat. Pack your sunscreen too.
At the farm, ask the owners or workers for their picking tips. They can tell you how to select ripe fruit and how to store and freeze your harvest once you get home. They may even have some recipes to share.
Louisiana’s farms most often offer you-pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Growing seasons for these berries vary throughout the state, but April is typically prime time for strawberries, with blueberries and blackberries following from May through mid-July.
Here are a few you-pick farms to check out this year:
Berry Sweet Orchards: Travel north of Baton Rouge to the town of Ethel, and you’ll find Louisiana’s first “state-certified organic you-pick” blueberry farm.
Hillcrest Blueberry Farm: At this large farm south of Gloster, you can pick blueberries and blackberries and select other berry items from the store located in their state-of-art processing facility.
Blue Harvest Farms: You’ll find Premier, Brightwell and Powder Blue blueberry varieties at this chemical-free farm in Covington.
Blahut Strawberry Farm: Pick a gallon of strawberries at Blahut in Holden, and then head to nearby Tickfaw State Park for a picnic.
Landry-Poche Farms: This pick-your-own strawberry farm in Holden is home to the 2013 Strawberry Festival king.
Louisiana Herbs: In Riverton, south of Monroe, you can collect pecans; pick mint, basil and other culinary herbs; and even buy plants on Breston Plantation.
Liuzza Produce Farm: Take a guided wagon tour to see what’s growing on the Liuzza farm in Amite. Depending on the season, you may have the opportunity to pick strawberries, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. In the fall, choose a pumpkin off the vine. Call before you visit.