August is unofficially blueberry month, but start looking for them in mid-July. Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. Here are a few places around Rochester you can pick your own blueberries.
Pick Your Own Blueberries
- Finger Lakes National Forest
Wild & free! Five acres are managed for blueberry production. Apples, raspberries, and other fruits are abundant in openings throughout the Forest.
- Whittier Fruit Farm
- Burch Farms
- Green Acre Farms
- Raspberry Hill Farm
- Becker Farms
- G and S Orchards
- Hurd Orchards
- Greg’s U-Pick Farm
Tips for when you pick your own blueberries
Thank you to pickyourown.org for these helpful tips!
- Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint of red isn’t fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually do ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room temperature to ripen).
- Since blueberries hang on the bushes in bunches a bit like grapes do, thw easiest and fastest way to pick them is hold your bucket under them in one hand and with your other hand, cup a ripe bunch and gently rub them with your fingers. The ripe berries will drop into your bucket, while the unripe ones will remain attached to the bush.
- When the bushes are at peak, I can easily pick 2 gallons per hour (if I’m not being distracted by the kids and the sun isn’t too hot!). A newbie might do 1 gallon per hour and at the beginning or end of the season it takes more time as the berries are not as plentiful nor concentrated in clusters.
- Once picked, don’t place the berries, still warm from the sun, in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open so moisture doesn’t form in the container.
- Don’t wash berries until just before using, to prevent berries from becoming mushy.
- Chill berries soon after picking to increase shelf life. Store your fresh blueberries in the refrigerator as soon as you get them home, without washing them, in a covered bowl or storage container. If refrigerated, fresh-picked berries will keep 10 to 14 days.
- Freeze berries in freezer containers without washing to keep the skins from toughening. Place berries one layer deep. Freeze, then pour the frozen berries into freezer containers. Because unwashed blueberries freeze individually, they can be easily poured from containers in desired amounts. Remember both frozen and fresh berries should be rinsed and drained just before serving. Just before using, wash the berries in cold water.
- It takes about 4 cups of blueberries to make a pie.
Whether it’s your first date night in Rochester or 50th, spending time exploring with your partner is a great way to connect and learn about each other.
Where are your favorite spots to pick blueberries?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!