Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blueberries as Big as the End of Your Thumb!
organic blueberry picking and pick your own farms near Houston

Scroll down for a list of organic pick-your-own farms of all ilks near enough Houston, and a link to find farms in other areas of the country as well!

Last weekend the family went to Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm, to self pick blueberries. We'd visited a pumkin patch in Virginia with our family last fall, but never got around to buying one of the pre-picked pumkins because we exhausted ourselves on the excellent rides they offered, including giant slides made of pipes, a pig-pen converted to a sandbox kind of thing, except it was filled with corn kernals, a giant inflated pumkin to jump on, several different kinds of mazes, a petting zoo, and I'm sure I'm missing something else. And we probably all thought it was a little lame we weren't allowed to pick our own pumpkins (I was really excited beforehand because I really wanted to whack the pumkin from the vine!).

Well, Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm can't be accused of having too many distractions aside from blueberries. They're serious about picking your own.

Somebody told me that this year, because of the rising costs of transporting foods and hiring laborers, more and more small farms are implementing pick your own programs -- though I can't find any articles on Google to back that claim. But when I was researching the list of places to pick around Houston, I found lots of other organic edibles waiting for the picking: blackberries, dewberries, veggies of all sorts, apples, pumkins (in fall). Pretty much there's something to pick around Houston from early May till late September. Farm germs are supposed to be good for babies' immune systems, and it's such a relief to explore the countrysides around Houston, that I think I'll try to get us out picking at least a few times this summer.

For the blueberry trip we left our house at 6:30 in the morning, got to the farm by 7:30 to beat the June heat, and lost ourselves among many an amateur picker, and plenty of more serious self-pickers in the maze of berries. It was a lovely two hours we spent picking, eating, and calling out through the berries to our friends Jbrd and Nicole and their families.

We started with this empty bucket:

We showed Grasshopper how to pick berries without squishing them, and she caught on quickly.

Her two and a half year old self expertly avoided most of the red or green berries, and just picked the blue ones. The concept of finding blueberries on bushes, and not in plastic containers didn't seem wow her, and I was glad, hoping our little garden has taught her to assume that if there's a little fruit or veggie, it came from the earth.

She started picking.

And eating.

And plucking.

And eating.



And Greendaddy and I plucked...though we sought berries atop the bushes so kids could get the lower ones.

We ate berries too,

but not as many as Grasshopper.

They made her wacky.

And silly.

She didn't even want to pose for a picture if it meant she couldnt' have a mouthful of the giant sweet berrries.

So we hoisted her high away from the bucket to get one family shot.

Then it was time to go.

We snipped her blueberry patch umbilical cord, rushed her to the car, but it was very awkward fitting her into the carseat.

Once home, I gave away some berries, we saved some for immediate eating, and I froze the rest, which was very easy: to freeze berries, or any fruit, them out on a couple cookie sheets in one layer (I mean, I didn't pile berries on top of each other), and freeze them overnight. Then I put them in ziplock bags. They taste NOTHING like store bought frozen berries...they retain shape and taste. Yum yum yum yum yum.

Want to pick Blueberries or other growy sundries in the Houston metro area? Here's the mostly organic list I culled from the Pick Your Own website...and if you're not a Houstonian you can use that same site to find places to pluck in near wherever you are:

Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm
23810 Bauer Hockley Road, Hockley, TX 77447. Phone: 281-304-0554.
37.5 mi – about 40 mins north from Houston on 290, up to 1 hour 20 mins in traffic
Open: Wednesday and Friday 7;30 AM to 1:00 PM and Saturday and Sunday 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM; other times by appointment. Follows organic methods but not yet certified, blueberries, gift shop, restrooms, picnic area. Payment: Cash, Check.
37.5 mi – about 40 mins north on 290 up to 1 hour 20 mins in traffic

Moorehead's Blueberry Farm
19531 Moorhead Road, Conroe, TX. Phone: 281-572-1265. 888.702.0622 (Toll Free)
40.5 mi from Houston – about 43 mins North on 1-45 up to 1 hour 10 mins in traffic
Twenty varieties of blueberries (primarily Tifblue, Premier, Brightwell, Climax, Garden Blue, Becky Blue, Alice Blue and Sharp Blue) on 20 acres. No pesticides are used. No entrance fee; you are charged only for what you pick. Sampling is not deterred. Buckets are provided, as well as picnic tables, rest room facilities. Soft drinks and water are available for purchase.

S & L Farms - pumpkins, summer squash, Other fruit or veg,
4606 Cr 186, Anderson, TX 77830. Phone: 830- 832-9755.
Crops are usually available in September, October, November. Open: We are open 7 days a week if no bad weather; if the gate is open come on in. We follow organic methods, but are not yet certified. Payment: Cash, only.
80.9 mi – about 1 hour 24 mins down 290/then 6 up to 2 hours 10 mins in traffic

Bauer Farms Berries
- blackberries, dewberries, Follows organic methods
17702 Mueschke Road, Cypress, TX 77429. Phone: 281-563-9669.
64.2 mi – about 1 hour 9 mins up to 1 hour 30 mins in traffic 1-10 and farm roads
Crops are usually available in April, May, June. Open: Monday to Friday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Sat and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Dewberries - Mid April to Mid May Blackberries - Mid May - Mid June. We follow organic methods, but are not yet certified. Payment: Cash, only.

Home Sweet Farm
7800 FM 2502, Brenham, TX 77833. Phone: 979.251.9922.
1 hour down 290 JUNE 22 TOMATO FESTIVAL LET US GO!!!!
ORGANIC, beans, eggplant, flowers, melons, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes, other vegetables, OTHER fruit or veg, pumpkin patch-pick in the field, child-sized haybale maze, and prepicked produce, snacks and refreshment stand, picnic area
Crops are usually available in June, July, August, September, October, November. We follow organic methods, but are not yet certified. Payment: Cash, only.

Ross's Blueberries - blueberries,
1453 County Road 2270, Cleveland, TX 77327. Phone: 2816227725.
45 min down 59
Crops are usually available in June, July. Open: Call ahead. It is our home farm and very casual. You just come and pick. It is not commercial. Weekends are probably best but weekdays are possible. Just call ahead. Also, mornings or evenings are better because of the Texas heat! $5.00 a gallon. We use buckets bought at a feed store. Eat while you pick too! They start coming in during June. They go thru middle of July. We have 5 kinds and the best are in June. We follow organic methods, but are not yet certified. Payment: Cash, only. We are not certified organic. We do not spray our berries. We use Miracle Gro to fertilize. You may want to bring bug spray.

Griffin Berry Farm
Hour and a half down i10
2394 Moore Road, Beaumont, TX 77713. Phone: 409-753-2247. Email:
- apples, blueberries, grapes, pears, peaches, plums, Other fruit or veg, restrooms, picnic area. Crops are usually available in May, June, July, October, November. Open: Check Web Page. We follow organic methods, but are not yet certified. Payment: Cash, Check. (ADDED: May 30, 2008)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're blogging again!!! I'll call you soon. xoxo, Julie

Fiddler said...

I love the frames of photos :)

Anonymous said...

How fun! I imagine it was hard to get her out of there :)

chuck said...

g/hopper as berry = bizarre and a total crack up!

greenishmamamd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greenishmamamd said...

Nice to see you at the Ice House! Here's the orchard my neighbors like:
Like your site!

Amit said...

I've gone apple picking which is great fun! Will have to try berry picking next year or so at a local farm. Blueberries are my favorite!!

cake said...

hi guys. we found a you-pick nearby, and went yesterday. we froze some, and then tried making jam last night. it was fun, and it worked! the jam is jam-like, and all the lids sealed. cosmo ate A LOT of blueberries too. he likes them best frozen though.

Mrs. Domino said...

Just stumbled onto your blog. Love it and the pictures of
"grasshopper!" Thanks for posting the info on the different farms. I'm definitely heading to the Cypress one soon!