Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to bring containers?
- > You can. We will weigh and masking tape mark your container do deduct the weight at checkout. OR we will provide containers for 25 cents / lb more. Blackberries easily crush, so very shallow containers are best. We see a lot of Blue Bunny ice cream buckets which you only want to fill about 1/3 of the way full for blackberries, but all the way full for strawberries. For perfectionists, we recommend baking sheets with the low sides. Your berries will get home in perfect condition. It does take some trunk space to do it that way though! Really, any shallow container will do. We are happy to provide containers if you forget or don't have anything suitable. We aren't making money on them, just passing on our cost.
- What should I wear?
> Strawberries: The strawberries are on plastic this year. Any shoes are fine.
Blackberries & Raspberries: NOT usually muddy. Grass in the aisles. Tennis shoes are much better than flip flops. The ground is uneven in places due to the voles and there are unexpected dips and some stickler weeds out there! The berries are thornless, so shorts and short sleeves or tank tops are fine.
- What if it is raining on picking day?
- > We will not be open during rain, but we will open if and when it stops.
- How long do berries keep?
> It depends on the heat, how quickly they are cooled down after picking, and how ripe they are when picked. The reality is blackberries have a short shelf life, but freeze really well. They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. The quicker you cool them down, the longer they keep!
Treat your strawberries the same way the grocery store does! They can be out on the counter, but will not last as long as if you refrigerate them. If the day is hot, cool them as soon as you can.
- Do I wash blackberries before I put them in the refrigerator?
- > No. This could cause mold to form. Wash immediately before eating. If rinsing more than a handful, place in a colindar and dunk 2 or 3 times in a sink of water. Running water for any length of time over them may bruise the berries.
- Is this a good activity for kids?
> Our personal experience with our kids is that children over age 5 enjoy picking and can stick with it. A parent can manage a stroller for an infant on the 12' wide aisles (grass) in the blackberry and raspberry fields. Possibly in the strawberry field, but could be muddy and rough for a stroller. It is wide enough for a stroller in the strawberries. Your call.
> Toddlers will enjoy finding berries if your goal is to point them out, engage with them, and not pick a lot of berries. Toddlers become bored fairly quickly if you are attempting to pick any real quantity of berries. For safety purposes, toddlers must stay right with you, so plan for a fun, but short outing. We will pick for you at a slightly higher price to supplement your take home berries.
- Are you organic?
- > No, we are not organic. However, we try to spray as little as possible. We spray as minimally as we can to keep pests off our berries, but the spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has done in every blackberry and raspberry farmer in the country in the last couple of years. Please know that even if you buy organic berries at a retail store, they have been sprayed. The organic growers selling to retail stores are spraying weekly with organic labeled sprays. We follow an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach trying to maximize our results and minimize our intervention. We strictly follow the pre-harvest intervals on anything we use. One reason we are closed on Wednesdays and Sundays is to allow for any spraying that might need to occur to happen on Tuesday and Saturday nights.
- What is the best time of day to pick blackberries?
- > Morning is best. The less "field heat" that is in the berry, the longer it will keep. Please see our hours for opening time.
- How do I choose a ripe blackberry or raspberry to pick?
- > Blackberries in the grocery store are picked before they are ripe, and are often rather tart. Ripe blackberries are deep black, not red or purple. They should be dull black in color, NOT SHINY. They should feel full and plump, but not soft and leaky. Soft and leaky is overripe fruit. Raspberries that are ripe are darker red in color. Lightly grip the berry and pull straight off the stem/core. If it come free with no tugging, it is ripe. If you have to tug, it is not ripe.
- Why aren't you open on Sundays and Wednesdays?
- > A couple of reasons: 1) Ideally, we need to rest on Sunday! (Not that that always occurs.) 2) If we need to spray a pesticide, we typically use a 12 or 24 hour pre-harvest interval spray. This allows us to spray Tuesday night and Saturday night and have a 30 hour pre-harvest interval. 3) We go to market on Wednesdays and don't always have a salesperson at home. 4) We have to MOW, and the mower is LOUD and ANNOYING to you the customer. Seriously, there is a lot of mowing that has to occur around here, and we only have so many daylight hours.
- How do I freeze blackberries or raspberries?
> See instructions at www.raspberryblackberry.com.