Pick-your-own blueberry season 2016

box of blueberries at samascott

Blueberry season recently started around the greater Capital Region. And it is an Official Summer Thing To Do.

Blueberries are just about our favorite pick-your-own crop because they're easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually about $3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year.

There are a handful of farms around the Capital Region that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Here's a list with some info. And, of course, if you know of a place that should be on the list, please share.

Important: you should call ahead (or check the farm website/Facebook) the day you're heading out to get the conditions. Also: Wear sunscreen or a hat or both -- because the blueberries only grow about waist high, there's usually little or no shade in the fields.

Albany County

Indian Ladder Farms
342 Altamont Rd, Altamont, NY (map)
(866) 640-7425
Wednesday-Friday 9 am-1 pm / weekends 9 am-4 pm

Blueberries are $3.25 per pound. (If you bring your own container for picking, be sure to have it weighed before heading into the field.)

Indian Ladder also currently has red and black raspberries -- they're $4.75 per pound.

Columbia County

Samascott Orchards
5 Sunset Ave, Kinderhook, NY (map)
(518) 758-7224
Everyday 8 am-6 pm

Samascott has multiple large blueberry fields, with different varieties. They're $3 per pound. (There's a $5 minimum for PYO.) Samascott also currently has black raspberries ($5 per pound) and a range of other PYO vegetables.

The Berry Farm
2309 Route 203, Chatham, NY (map)
(518) 392-4609
Sunday-Wednesday 8 am-6 pm, Thursday-Saturday 8 am-7 pm

The Berry Farm doesn't have PYO blueberries or raspberries this year because of a frost this spring. But it does have berries for sale in its farm store.

Also: "All of the vegetables and fruit grown at The Chatham Berry Farm are pesticide-free."

Love Apple Farm
1421 State Route 9H, Ghent, NY (map)
(518) 828-5048
Every day 9 am-5 pm

Love Apple isn't currently open because it's building a new farm market and cafe. But it's planning for an August open, and it should have PYO blueberries then.

(And you might remember that Love Apple has also had PYO peaches in past year, but unfortunately not this year -- they were zapped by the spring frost.)

Thompson-Finch Farm
750 Wiltsie Bridge Rd, Ancram, NY (map)
(518) 329-7578
Wednesday and Saturday 8 am-11 am

The season at Thompson-Finch lasts about six weeks. Be sure to call the farm for updates before heading out.

Also: Thompson-Finch is a NOFA-NY Certified Organic farm.

Rensselaer County

Hay Berry Farm
1176 Babcock Lake Road, Hoosick Falls, NY (map)
(518) 285-9039
Thursday-Monday 7:30 am-3 pm, Sunday 11 am-3:30 pm

PYO blueberries started last week (July 8). Hayberry grows multiple different varieties of blueberries. Keep an eye on its FB page, where the farm posts updates about which varieties are in season..

Also: Hay Berry also has "you-snip" lavender, which we haven't seen anywhere else. And the farm is a member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.

Saratoga County

Bowman Orchards
141 Sugar Hill Rd, Rexford, NY (map)
(518) 371-2042
Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm / Sunday noon-5 pm

Bowman's been picking blueberries since late June. PYO blueberries are $4.29 per pound (and it's $2/person to pick.)

Also: Bowman multiple varieties of raspberries, currently available for PYO, and they usually continue until the first frost. They're $4.99 per pound PYO.

Keep an eye on the the orchard's FB page for updates.

Eagle's View Farm
2089 Route 29, Galway, NY (map)
(518) 882-9199
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 8-11 am

Eagle's View grows multiple varieties of blueberries that ripen as the summer progresses. Blueberries are $2.20/pound. Also: "Due to abundance of ripe berries starting Monday July 18 we will be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday each week."

Noted: cash only, no bathrooms, no pets.

Winney's Blueberry Farm
113 Winney Dr Schuylerville, NY (map)
(518) 695-5547
Every day 8 am-6 pm

We've heard in past years that Winney's grows 19 different varieties (!) of blueberries, and the varieties tend to have staggered staggered harvest times through mid August. From an update on the FB page this week: "The berries are plentiful & we have quite a few different varieties ready at this point in the season."

Blueberries are $3.10/pound PYO, and $8 per quart at the stand.

Washington County

Hicks Orchard
18 Hicks Road, Granville, NY -- (map)
(518) 692-2376
Daily 8 am-5 pm

Hicks grows four varieties of blueberries and the season there typically extends through the end of August. They're $3 per pound.

Hand Melon Farm
533 Wilbur Avenue, Greenwich, NY -- between Schuylerville and Greenwich (map)
(518) 692-2376
Wednesday-Friday 8 am-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-5 pm

PYO blueberries are $3 per pound. Hand also grows a variety of raspberry that ripens later in the summer, late August into September.

Of course, the farm is also where the Hand Melons are grown -- it sounds like they'll be available toward the end of July and beginning of August. (And you've never had one of the melons, you should give them a try. We picked one up at the farm stand last year and it was fantastic.)

Stu-Berry Acres
1483 County Route 49, Argyle, NY (map)
(518) 638-8926
Every day 8 am-6 pm

PYO blueberries are $2.75 per pound. Stu-Berry also has red, black, and purple raspberries ($4.50 per pound).

Know of a good place not on this list? Please share!

Picked too many blueberries? Freeze 'em.

We mentioned that blueberries freeze well. Here's a good way to do it:

+ Rinse the berries, picking out stems and damaged berries.

+ Pat the berries dry with a clean towel -- you don't have to get them super dry, but do what you can without smooshing them.

+ Spread them on a sheet pan, in a single layer if possible, and pop them in the freezer uncovered. Let them freeze hard -- usually 3-4 hours or overnight.

+ Bag the berries -- most of them will have frozen individually -- in a zip bag or other container, trying to get out as much air as possible. Pop them back in the freezer.

+ Enjoy months later. The berries won't be exactly like fresh, but they hold up well. And you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference after you've baked them in a crumble or pie, or even make pancakes with them.

Also, crumble them

Fresh blueberries are often delicious just on their own, but if you picked a bunch of them and are looking for something to do with all those berries -- crumble them!

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