The biggest way that we save money on produce every year is by heading to U-Pick farms, where for a lesser amount of money we can pick our own fruits & veggies! Different areas grow different types of foods, but if you are lucky enough to live within a few hours of a farm you are in luck!! Our area grows strawberries. Other items we have picked nearby are grapes, blueberries, onions, and potatoes.
So every year, when it’s u-pick season, we make a family trip for a day and load up our coolers! Last year we were in luck- our strawberry farms had such a horrible year that they literally just opened up the farms for FREE. I must have brought back 5 gallons of strawberries for our family. Make sure you bring a large bucket, cooler, water to drink, and sunscreen! We pick as much as we can possibly handle with 2 small kids. Take them home, rinse them all, and prep the fruit. Some fruit don’t need prepped- for strawberries I pre-cut off the green tops. It does take FOREVER- but it’s once a year and I’m thankful the rest of the year that we have yummy fruit!
After I cut off the tops I lay everything out to dry so the fruit doesn’t have as much ice build up in the freezer.
There are several things that you can do with all of this delicious fruit. Save some for now to eat! You can also freeze it (which is what we usually do), you can can it if you know how, you can dehydrate it for a healthy snack later (we do this too!). With our frozen strawberries/blueberries we use them in smoothies, pancakes/waffles, shortcake, and anything else we can think of during the year!
Hungry yet? Check back tomorrow for my fruit smoothie recipe! 🙂 Where do you find U-Pick information? I always google online every year, as well as checking our local papers. They usually have small ads in the classified section. I would start with Pick Your Own website. They have a simple site to help you find U-Pick farms all over the world!! This is sort of our default place to look.
Not only is this a great way to save money on produce during the year, but it’s a fun family event and a great way to teach your kids about farms and plants!