Fruit picking is a fun and popular American hobby. Public orchards allow you to come and collect blackberries, plums, peaches, limes, grapes, kiwis and dates. It can be a great family outing. The work is slightly strenuous, which keeps the body fit and flexible. Picking fruits also teaches children where our meals come from. Agriculture, food and related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the US GDP in 2019, representing is a 5.2% share of the total GDP, according to figures released by the US Department of Agriculture. A favorable climate, good crop yield and increased availability of farmland have been driving the growth of this sector.
Factors like these are also the top reason why locals love fruit picking. Apple and raspberry harvests are common from July to September. It is a good way to ensure a burst of fresh flavors for your family. Here’s how to make it a fun and memorable endeavor.
1. Kid-Friendly Location
Look for orchards that allow guests of all ages. Los Angeles, in particular, is home to several U-pick farms that let kids pluck the ripest produce. A few of the most famous ones are Riley’s, Tanaka Farms and Underwood Family Farms. You can stroll through rows of apples, and raspberry bushes and participate in enjoyable activities like horseback riding. The city is also home to world-famous landmarks like Catalina Island, Disneyland Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to US Local Guide. So, head over to these attractions to fill your day after the fruit picking.
2. Fruit Ripeness and Identification
It is important to do a small crash course beforehand. Learn about color uniformity, signs that the fruit is ripe (heavy and shiny) and how to remove them from the stem without damaging anything. Keep an eye on the shape and smell. Understand the techniques of picking too. For example, you have to roll the apple upward and twist it slightly. Pulling and shaking can ruin the experience. You end up with squished fruits and cause food wastage in the process.
3. Dress for Picking
This is not an outing for new outfits, since raspberries and strawberries can stain the fabric. Don’t forget to bring enough tissues to wipe yourself as and when required. Put a sunscreen, bring a sunhat and wear closed-toed shoes, according to an article by The Domestic Life Stylist. This can ensure a comfortable picking experience. Consider carrying extra clothing in case you get too dirty as you make your way through the orchard. Apply bug repellants on the kids to avoid rashes and irritation in the field.
Fruit picking is a great way to spend the upcoming weekend. Use the fruits for making jams, pickles, pie fillings, syrups and cookies. Freeze, can, dehydrate or donate the surplus.