- The times, dates, and locations of all the farmer's markets in Lane County.
- A listing of many farms in the county with handy info such as location, which products they sell, and their growing practices.
- This book doesn't list prices, so you have to call or check the website for those.
- A map of farm locations
- U-Pick index so you can easily find which farms offer raspberries or figs or cucumbers or whatever you're hoping to pick.- Seasonal crop availability chart
- And lots more!
Anyway! My family went to pick cherries this weekend, and I thought I'd share a bit about how easy it is to feed your family fresh, local produce for way cheaper than you can buy it at the store. It just takes a little bit of effort. :)
Be aware: many of the farms are only open on weekends, or have funny hours.
Also, even if the website says that they are offering cherries (or whatever) right now, I would recommend calling, just to be sure. Farmers are understandably busy with many things besides keeping their websites super updated. Just be sure to do all your research before you head out. It would be super disappointing to load up the kids, get everyone super pumped about fresh fruit, and then discover that you missed the season or need a bowl or whatever.
We headed out to Detering Orchards this weekend to pick our cherries. Winco was selling cherries for $3.98/pound, and I was not very excited about paying that much, even though cherries are my absolute favorite. Detering was selling U-Pick cherries for $1.59/pound. Wowza. That is a huge difference. Granted, the lower price means you're using gas to get out to the farm, as well as time and effort on picking, but I feel like it's worth it. You're supporting a local farmer, you're getting your littles out in the dirt, they're learning a bit about where their food comes from, and you know exactly how it was grown. Also! Taste testing! Wahoo!
Oh, and some general U-Pick tips too.
- Cherries grow on trees - so sometimes they're way above your head. I've picked cherries at ME & Moore before - they're a lovely farm down near Mt Pisgah - and their trees are huge. You get to stand on a ladder and use a pole hook thing to grab the branch to bring it closer to you. Super fun, but not very kid friendly. Detering's trees are much smaller. My four year old could stand on the ground and reach a reasonable amount of cherries without a problem. We also had a pickup truck with us, so we just backed it up under a super loaded tree, stood in the bed, and then it was even easier!
- At Detering's they don't mind if you drive your car right down the cherry orchard aisle, so try to go down a bit where it doesn't look like there are a ton of other people.
- General U-Pick tip - start farthest away from the road - most people will just go to the front and start picking, which means there will be less fruit.
- Also: be sure to wear play clothes - picking is messy and I promise you will all go home with juice and dirt on whatever you're wearing.
- Take bowls with you - some places don't give you boxes or bags to take home your goodies.
- My oldest is four, and he has been picking with me his whole life. I usually can expect him to be interested for the first bit of time, and then he gets to wander and play near me while I work. Here's what we've successfully picked together: apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, and strawberries.
- If you have a little who isn't walking yet, I would suggest wearing them. Often the aisles of crops (particularly berries) are super narrow and wild with branches, and it would be difficult/borderline impossible to navigate a stroller. However, once they're walking, let them go for it! Honestly, I just plop my crawler on the ground near me and let him crawl around. He ends up filthy and I have to keep an eye on him so I can dig rocks or whatever out of his mouth, but he is entertained and I get to work.
- Often, U-Pick fields are set pretty far back from roads, so it's easy to let your kiddos wander a bit. This is great practice for "if you can't see me, you're too far away" as well as "come when I call", two of my big boundary rules.
- Sunscreen! Wear it! Also - hats. - If you can, go first thing in the morning. That way you beat the crowds and the heat.
- Don't be intimidated by the farms that are outside of Eugene. If your littles do okay in the car, taking a little drive is a lovely way to spend a beautiful summer day. Pack a picnic and make it an event!
- One important thought: plan your picking. I picked six pounds of strawberries a few weeks ago, which is wonderful! However! I did it the day before we were leaving town for a week, and also on the day of my book club (and I hadn't finished the book yet). So I spent the entire rest of the day frantically making strawberry muffins and jam and cobbler and granola bars while skimming my book in between batches of dishes while also keeping the episodes of Chuggington rolling and throwing snacks at my kids and clothes in our suitcase. Not a great move on my part.
- Before you pick, spend some time on the interwebs and make a plan about how much you want to pick. There's nothing more discouraging than rotten fruit sitting on your counter attracting fruit flies. Also read up on how to freeze it. That way, if you end up with more than you were anticipating, you'll know how to save it from going to waste.
Whew! Okay! Do you feel prepared to get out there and pick all of the season's bounty? Do it!!
30946 Wyatt Dr.
Harrisburg, OR 97446
Parking: Plenty of free parking
Cost: Free to visit the farm. Cost of produce depends on what you're picking.
Food: Detering's has a cute little snack shack where you can buy food and drinks. However, we've often taken our own food, and that's okay too.
Nursing/Resting Spots: There are picnic tables near the farmstand, but out in the fields you'll have to sit on the ground.
Bathrooms: There are bathrooms near the farmstand, but once you get out into the fields, I think you're out of luck.
Time Frame: We picked 8 pounds of cherries and spent a bit of time poking around the farmstand and playing on the playground. Counting the drive out to the farm and back, we spent 2 hours and 15 minutes of our Sunday afternoon picking our cherries. But if you visit a farm closer to town, you could pick way faster, or alternatively, you could take way more time checking stuff out.
Push or Wear: Wear - strollers will be a pain on the rough farm ground.