Take your Kids Berry Picking

When my daughter Isabelle was about four, I took her berry picking. As we headed out into the field I rattled off instructions for choosing the ripest fruit, avoiding the prickers, and putting the berries into the buckets instead of eating them. Yet every time I’d turn my back, she’d shove a little fistful of blackberries into her mouth. Hard to blame her, they were amazing right off the vine.

After some time, the owner of the farm wandered by and stopped for a chat. An elderly man with a gentle, wizened face that comes from a lifetime in the sun, he looked down at Isabelle and said, “you haven’t eaten any of those berries now, have you?” She looked up at the farmer, closed her rosebud lips up tight, crinkled her brow, and shook her head very firmly to indicate, “NO.” But she was covered in evidence: Her hands and mouth were awash in berry drippings, the front of her tee shirt, stained with blackberry juice beyond repair.

The farmer just smiled and walked on.

Farm to Table

My kids have picked berries countless times since then. They’re older now and a little better about refraining from nibbling off the vine (I can’t say the same for myself).

Talk about good, clean fun — the kids get to see first hand where their food comes from, gain a little appreciation for the hard work that goes into harvesting, and you get to go home with an abundance of heavenly summer fruit.

Where to Go Berry Picking

I’ll be posting a “how to” on making berry jam in a few days. In the meantime, think about loading up your crew with a couple of boxes or buckets and heading for the field. If you’re wondering where to go, here is a link that might help: Pickyourown.org




08.13.2012 at9:48 AM #


This is a favorite activity of ours. We usually go to Webb Ranch in Portola Valley, though we’ve also gone to Pescadero, which is where I suspect you go. We also love picking cherries in May in Brentwood. I am hoping to do apples sometime this fall — we haven’t done it since the kindergarten field trip. I cannot wait to see your jam recipe. I’m terrified of botulism so I haven’t dared try it yet!

08.13.2012 at9:48 AM #

Katie Morford

Picking cherries sounds like so much fun.

08.13.2012 at9:30 PM #


Thank you. Love this link! I think with the four boys, two of them desperate teens to stay away from the family, aka parents…picking our own food then eating it is the perfect way to spend a day together!

08.13.2012 at9:30 PM #

Katie Morford

Yes, put them to work picking berries…great for family bonding!

08.14.2012 at4:22 PM #


Oh, this is a favorite thing to do in our family! We’ve done this in almost every state we’ve lived in (VA, CO, CA, RI, etc, etc). I love that CA has so many great pick-your-own farms! We’ve done Blueberries and Strawberries so far and hope to go pick apples in the fall.

08.14.2012 at4:22 PM #

Katie Morford

Yes, we are terribly spoiled in California, although I picked wild blueberries in Maine years ago and it was pretty terrific.

08.27.2012 at8:22 PM #

Stacy Whitman

I love this idea. I was hoping to do it with my kids when we were in New Jersey this summer, but alas, the temps were in the mid-90s. Next year, for sure!!

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *