Strawberry Picking in Michigan: Why You Should Go & Tips For When You Do

It can be hard for families to find educational activities to fill summer schedules. Pick-your-own farms are a great way to entertain kids (and adults) while also learning about our food system.

I recently went to Whittaker’s Berry Farm, with my family and realized what a rewarding experience picking your own produce can be.

Why You Should Go

  • An experience for all ages. Since strawberry picking is fairly easy, the youngest and oldest members of your family can be involved with every step. This is a great opportunity for you to learn from each other and collaborate. Children who are exposed to teamwork more often have stronger communication skills.
  • A chance to learn something new. This is a fun way to learn about where your food comes from and how to make healthier eating decisions. Children can see what happens with their food before you buy it at the grocery store. The farm workers will also educate you and your family on how to know when the fruit is ready to be picked. For strawberries, this is when the entire fruit is a bright red color. Strawberries with a green tip still need more time to grow.
  • Michigan strawberries are delicious. You can eat them by themselves, or make fun recipes little girl dumping strawberrieslike our delicious cucumber and strawberry salad. Not only do they taste great, but they also work to boost your immune system, prevent heart disease and lower the risk of arthritis and cancer. Most farms encourage you to eat some berries while you pick as well.

Tips For When You Go

  • Dress appropriately. Picking strawberries requires a lot of movement such as bending down, squatting or sitting on the ground. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that you won’t mind getting a little dirty. This goes for footwear as well, as it can be muddy from weather and watering the crops.
  • Prepare for the sun. There’s not much shade as strawberry crops require a lot of direct sun and are low to the ground. Pack hats, sunscreen and water to make sure to protect your skin and stay hydrated.
  • Just have fun. Don’t get too worried about the small things, like picking only the perfect strawberries. While you want to get the ripe ones, have fun watching the children learn as they go. Take your time going through the fields and make sure to take a couple pictures to capture this family outing.

For more information on pick-your-own farms and to find one near you, visit click here.

Person holding box of strawberries in field

 

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Photo credit: Maranda Doney, A Healthier Michigan and StefaNikolic via Getty Images

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