One of the simplest of summer activities is also one of the most pleasurable! Throughout the northern hemisphere, picking season begins in June when strawberries begin to appear, before peaking mid-summer with the addition of raspberries and blueberries, and ending in the early autumn as the last blackberries fall to the ground. Taking your partner berry picking is a fun, unexpected way of spending a warm summer day together! So whether you plan to collect buckets-full for jam or you and your date eat the berries straight from the bush, it’s sure to be a hit!
- Empty, Clean Containers
- Water/Cold Drinks
- Sun Protection
- Cash (if buying)
- Look for a fair weather day. As with the most outdoor dates, fair weather is key to enjoying a day spent berry picking! And while rain and wind would cast a dark cloud over the day, incredibly hot temperatures could also make it unpleasant. Aim for a sunny or overcast day with low humidity and warm to cool temperatures.
- Choose a spot. Pick-Your-Own berry (and fruit and vegetable) farms are popping up everywhere nowadays! You should have a variety to chose from, no matter your location. Consider visiting a small organic family farm if possible. If you live in a wooded, rural area, you may also choose to pick wild berries. If so, first make absolutely certain that you’re familiar with the area, have permission to be there and that the berries you plan to pick are safe to eat. Nothing would ruin your date quite like getting lost, being fined for trespassing, or one of you being poisoned!
- Dress strategically. Blueberries, blackberries, and red fruits occasionally stain clothing and shoes. Dress comfortably in clothes that are attractive, but which you don’t mind getting stained.
- Sun protection. As berry picking almost always takes place outside during the spring and summer months, it is essential that you and your partner protect yourselves from the sun’s harmful rays! Opt for light, loose-fitting clothing, face-shielding hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Transportation & Supplies. If driving yourselves somewhere you’ve never been before, get hold of a road map or GPS ahead of time and plan your route. Do the same if you’re planing to take public transportation. You’ll be much more relaxed and able to talk to your date if you know where you’re going! Bring along cold drinks and some nice music for the ride.
- Most berry farms operate in fields and out of small stands, so make sure you bring cash (small notes) to pay them and empty pails or other clean containers to collect the berries in. You may also be able to purchase containers from the farm.
- Be choosy. Look for firm, fully colored berries and don’t rush. It takes about 15 minutes to pick a quart of stawberries or other large berries, but twice as much time to pick 1 quart of blueberries.
- Have FUN! Summertime is a wonderful time for feeling young and carefree! Relax, enjoy some light conversation (perhaps about your grand plans for all these delicious berries!) and bask in the sun.
- Offer to pay. If you’re the one who did the asking and planning, offering (or even insisting) you pay for all the berries is the polite thing to do, especially if you’re early on in a new relationship. If the date went well, make follow-up plans with to cook jellies and jams, bake pies or muffins, or can and freeze your berries, together.
Resist the temptation to overeat! The acid created by eating 2 quarts or more of fresh berries in a short time is liable to make you feel sick.
Late morning, after the early morning dew has evaporated and before the hottest part of the day, is the ideal time to pick berries.