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Best Places To Pick Summer Fruit Near Chicago

July 18, 2014 7:00 AM

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(Photo Credit: upberries.com)

(Photo Credit: upberries.com)

Skyscrapers, eclectic neighborhood architecture and the occasional trip to the lake can be a norm for many families in Chicago. While downtown exposure can definitely have its place, taking the kids out for some fresh air can help to provide a different type of activity to create memories. Chicago may not be known for its farms and slower style of living, but there are some great venues for picking summer fruit if you know where to look. Check out some places to pick some high-quality produce, and come home with lots of memories and even a photo or two.
(Photo Credit: honeyhillorchard.com)

(Photo Credit: honeyhillorchard.com)

Honey Hill Orchard, LLC
11784 Waterman Road
Waterman, IL 60556
(815) 264-3337
www.honeyhillorchard.com

Just over an hour’s drive from the city, Honey Hill Orchard offers farm picking during the fall and summer. While finding the right pumpkin or picking farm-fresh apples can be great for the kids, taking them during the summer lets them pick the fall-bearing raspberries that produce at the end of August. People are encouraged to pick during the peak picking times at the end of August through September. Early season hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Full season hours have extended hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Don’t forget to check out the country store, feeding trough and bakery for the Honey Hill candy and a mixed berry pie or fresh cider donut.

(Photo Credit: upberries.com)

(Photo Credit: upberries.com)

You Pick Berries
30683 Lanan Road
Kingston, IL 60145
www.upberries.com

About an hour and a half’s drive from the city, You Pick Berries offer blueberries, blackberries and red raspberries. While the 2014 blueberries were damaged over the winter, the red raspberries and blackberries are open for picking in July. Operating hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset, and feature a self-serve picking system. Visitors are charged $3 per pint, with taxes factored into the price. Only cash and checks are available options for payment, and each guest is on the honor system while picking in the designated areas. There are two types of pesticide-free hybrid red raspberries to choose from.

Olive Berry Acres
2575 W. Mine Road
Mazon, IL 60444
(815) 474-6511
www.oliveberryacres.com

Located right outside the main town of Mazon, and around an hour and a half’s drive from the city; Olive Berry Acres offers fruit and vegetables for picking. The summer fruit picking options include strawberries, red raspberries, and black raspberries. Closed on Mondays and Sundays, the farm is open for picking from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. While there are no appointments necessary, visitors are encouraged to check the website or Facebook page before arrival to ensure availability of crop. There is no admission fee, picked items are sold by the pound, all picking supplies are provided free of charge and the farm accepts cash or credit as payment.

Related: Best Places To Pick Blueberries

(Photo Credit: Knutsons Country Harvest's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Knutsons Country Harvest’s Facebook)

Knutson’s Country Harvest
13550 Townhouse Road
Newark, IL 60541
(815) 557-4630
www.knutsonsharvest.com

Just over an hour’s drive from the city, Knutson’s Country Harvest offers apples, peaches, berries, vegetables and more. There are 13 varieties of apples ripe for picking from the middle of July through late October, including Honeycrisp and Red Delicious. There are four different types of blueberries available from early July through the beginning of August, including the large and dark Blueray blueberry. Peaches are available from late July through the middle of September, raspberries are available from late June through the middle of October, blackberries are available from late August to early September and strawberries are available from late June to early October. Picked fruit ranges in price, averaging between $4 to $4.50 per pound.

Valley Orchard
811 E. State St.
Cherry Valley, IL 61016
(815) 332-9696
www.thevalleyorchard.com

Around an hour and a half from the city by car, the Valley Orchard has a number of different options for summer fruit picking. Whether you’re looking for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or even tart cherries, there is something for everyone for some great family picking fun. Make sure to stop into the bakery, regardless of the season. Colder months feature cinnamon sugar or glazed apple cider donuts and from-scratch pies are always a favorite after picking berries. Kids will love the fact that it’s a working farm complete with interesting farm equipment, and the backdrop makes for great photo opportunities.

Related: Best Places To Pick Strawberries

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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