Michigan Bucket List: U-Pick Strawberry Farms
| 3 min read
Spinach and asparagus may sprout first from the cool spring ground in Michigan, but strawberries are one of the truly sweet crops of early summer in our state. They come in all sizes, and even different flavors. The small, wild strawberries found by foragers or lucky hikers can have an intense sweetness, while the larger, more commercially-pretty berries are juicy. The fact that these red jewel-like fruits are easy to pick for children as well as adults makes them an especially popular crop at U-Pick farms across the state. Filling buckets or cardboard trays to the brim with berries you’ve picked yourself is a fun activity. And all that hard work makes the pies, shortcakes and jams you make later taste a little bit sweeter. It’s why finding a U-Pick strawberry farm near you should be on your Michigan Bucket List this summer.
Big health benefits
Strawberries are not just a pretty topping for desserts. They pack a big punch when it comes to nutrition and health benefits. Not only are they a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, but they can boost your brain power. A registered dietician for the Cleveland Clinic recently rounded up some of the biggest benefits of this popular berry. They include:
- Strawberries have more Vitamin C than oranges. Eating about eight strawberries will give you 160% of your daily allowance of this important vitamin.
- The redder a strawberry’s color is, the more antioxidant power it has.
- Research has found that people who eat more blueberries and strawberries have less cognitive decline than those who don’t eat these berries.
Find Fun at U-Pick Farms
Michigan produces more than 43,000 tons of fresh strawberries each June and July, according to the Michigan Ag Council. To really appreciate strawberry season, find a U-Pick farm close to you. Bring some water, sunglasses, sunscreen and snacks. You might want to enlist some friends to join you. You will be able to see up close the quality of the fruit you’re picking, and U-Pick rates are generally a lot less than what you could buy a quart of picked berries for in a grocery store or at a farm market.
Here are some U-Pick strawberry farms across the state. Before you go, make sure to check the farm’s website or call them to confirm picking times and other details.
Rowe’s Produce Farm, 10570 Martz Road in Ypsilanti: It boasts the most acreage in Michigan devoted to U-Pick strawberries and peas.
Krupp Farms, 8025 Krupp Road in Comstock Park: This large fruit and vegetable farm north of Grand Rapids has wide rows of strawberries for easy picking and usually has a summer ice cream stand where the littlest pickers can line up for a treat after their work is done.
Scherer’s U-Pick Strawberries, 5118 Hollywood Road, St. Joseph: This fruit farm has two locations, one in St. Joseph and the other in Dowagiac. It grows four types of strawberries, including the popular Jewels.
Bird Berry Farm, 5256 Belding Road in Belding: This farm offers strawberry and blueberry picking.
Middleton Berry Farm, 4790 Oakwood Road in Ortonville: The farm cultivates six acres of hand-weeded crops and typically has strawberries available for picking a couple weeks in June.
AJ’s Berry Farm, 1150 Salina Road in Lachine: This Northern Michigan farm offers fields of strawberries for U-Pick in the mornings during the season.
Brooks Berry Patch, 6250 S. Warner Ave in Fremont: This farm posts online daily during the season about berry availability. Check its Facebook page for details.
Photo credit: Getty Images