Looking for a little pick-me-up this summer? Or maybe you’d like to pick up a new family activity that your kids might pick too? We pick U-pick.
There are several U-pick farms within an hour’s drive of Calgary specializing in Saskatoon berries and strawberries with a few veggies on the side. Surprisingly, the picking season is just getting underway (yes, it’s late this cool summer).
Before you head out to any of these close by U-pick farms, call ahead for updated conditions. The weather has wreaked havoc on local farmers this year and crops are late and limited. Plan to go first thing in the morning. Fields are likely to get cleaned out and once the berries are gone, they’re gone. Many farms will pick the berries for you or sell them onsite as well, but where’s the fun in that?
Not all farms accept credit cards so bring cash, as well as hats, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and water. For the berry best results, pack a cooler with ice to get your sweet treasures home.
Good to Know: U-pick farms charge $18 per 4L pail of pre-picked berries or $12 per 4L pail if you pick your own.
Prep and Care: Rinse Saskatoon berries under running water before eating. Conversely, running water can bruise a strawberry which is why we prefer to soak them (briefly) in a bowl of clean water. Dry immediately. Freeze berries for future use individually on cookie sheets before placing them into freezer bags.
U-pick, we pick, they pick. It doesn’t really matter who picks at the end of the day. The important thing is that the kids see where berries come from (and it’s not the supermarket) and we can all enjoy their beautiful flavour. Yum.
Where: Just north of Okotoks between Hwy 2 and 2A
When: Blackcurrants are the feature fruit at Kayben (they’re best in mid-August) as well as pumpkin picking in October.
Cost: $20 for a 4L pail of pre-picked berries or $13 for a 4L pail if you pick your own ($1 discount if you bring your own pail).
Extras: Once the kids have had their fill of berry picking, check out the Sunshine Adventure Park onsite. For the price of admission ($15 per family), the kids can bounce, climb and swing while you enjoy nature trails and a cuppa joe.