By Rachel Azark
July is National Blueberry Month! What better way to celebrate this momentous event than taking the family out on a day trip to pick some berries? Here are a few farms within a day’s driving distance that will let you pick their berries and take them home to make blueberry pie, blueberry jam, blueberry muffins, or to just enjoy alone.
Plow Creek Farm
19183 Plow Creek Road, Unit 2
Tiskilwa, IL 61368
Pack the kids into the car, pack up a lunch and hit the road for a two-hour drive to Tiskilwa, IL to pick some blueberries. Make sure to call before you make the drive to make sure the crop is just right and that they are open. They also keep a schedule on their website of what’s happening on the farm, and recipes for you to try.
Knutson’s Country Harvest
13550 Townhouse Rd.
Newark, IL 60541
From Chicago it takes about an hour and a half to get out to Knutson’s for a day of pickin’. They offer four varieties of blueberries to pick from. They are a family-owned and operated orchard and they offer pick-your-own fruits and vegetables. In addition, they make their own homemade pies, jams, pickles, relishes and honey. They also offer bee demonstrations and hay rides.
811 E. State St.
Cherry Valley, IL 61016
Another hour and a half drive outside of Chicago will take you to Valley Orchard, a 35-acre, family-owned orchard, which boasts approximately 5,000 apple trees. But when apples aren’t in season you can pick raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. They ask that you call ahead on days when the temperature will be in the mid 90s as they will close early. Right now blueberries, currants, thornless blackberries, green and yellow beans and cucumbers are available.
76241 14th Ave
South Haven, MI 49090
To get here is certainly a road trip, but two hours on a highway isn’t so bad. DeGrandchamp Blueberries in South Haven, MI is a family tradition. In 1958, Vincent and Beatrice DeGrandchamp bought a 12-acre blueberry farm and now the rest is history. Pack a lunch and enjoy the lunch area they have set up for their guests. When your bellies are full, go out and enjoy the U-pick farm that is well groomed and trimmed for easy picking. The U-pick locations are constantly moved around the farm to ensure you have ripe berries and the best to choose from.
The Extraordinary Berry
3091 Riverside Rd.
(Intersection of Riverside and Pier Roads)
Text questions: 269-470-4666
Another two-hour drive to Riverside, MI will bring you to this farm where you will be able to pick blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. Chuck, who owns the farm, grew up on a fruit farm in Michigan, left to have a career as a referee in the NFL and is now devoting his retirement to his farm. He opened his farm to visitors so they could experience seeing how fruit is grown on a working farm and offer them an opportunity to sample all the varieties. He invites you to walk the fields, taste the varieties, enjoy the outdoors, and bring a picnic lunch to spend the afternoon with them on the farm.