With July 4 just around the corner, you might want to celebrate the holiday with a red, white and blue dessert. What better way to bake then with locally-sourced berries?
Berry season is here, and many local farms are offering pick-your-own -- an activity that's fun for the whole family. While a few farms are currently harvesting strawberries, late summer berries like blueberries and raspberries will be available at many farms soon.
Customers participating in pick-your-own activities are strongly advised to wear face-coverings, according to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. At all of these locations, per state law, on-site consumption of food—including crops being picked—is not allowed, in order to limit in-person contact and the risk of contamination.
Here's a quick round-up of nearby pick-your-own farms, as well as a few recipes that will surely taste like summer.
Sam Mazza’s Farm Market, Colchester
Pick-your-own strawberries: until July 1
Pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries: open approximately July 15 - Aug. 30
What else do I need to know? Hand washing or hand sanitizing is required before entering the harvest area. Children will almost certainly find joy in the tractor-pulled wagon ride out to the berry field. Strawberries are $3.50 per pound.
Paul Mazza's Fruit and Vegetable Stand, Essex Junction and Colchester
Pick-your-own strawberries: until approximately July 20
Pick-your-own raspberries: opens approximately July 15
What else do I need to know? Fields and farm stand are open everyday, and produce like rhubarb, beets, and tomatoes are available for purchase. Easy-to-follow instructions for canning and freezing fruits and vegetables can be found on Paul Mazza's website.
Charlotte Berry Farm, Charlotte
Pick-your-own blueberries: opens approximately July 10
What else do I need to know? During your visit, you can enjoy a creemee made from farm fresh berries and stop by the farm stand for other produce products. Five-pound bags of frozen blueberries are all available for purchase on the farm's website.
River Berry Farm, Fairfax
Pick-your-own strawberries: open until July 4
Pick-your-own raspberries: open approximately mid-August through September
What else do I need to know? All pick-your-own berries are organic, as well as all produce offered at the farm stand. River Berry farm also offers seasonal CSAs. Strawberries are $3.95 per pound.
Isham Family Farm, Williston
Pick-your-own blueberries, raspberries and black currants : opens approximately July 10
What else do I need to know? The farm uses chickens for pest control in the berry patches instead of insecticides. Dogs are not allowed. Before or after you pick berries, you might want to hike the 1.3 mile Oak View Hiking Trail nearby. The trail provides views of Mt. Mansfield and a pond.
Be sure to contact these farms directly for the most up-to-date information, as berry harvests are typically weather dependent and are subject to change.