U-Pick Blueberries in Vermontville
Our raspberries are just winding down and the blueberries are in full form. Are the sporadic rain and plentiful sun the reason for such a bumper crop of berries? We have a few blueberry bushes at home, but they only produce enough to enhance our morning cereal. I want enough berries to make a blueberry pie. Though wild berries are fun to pick, a quick way to fill the berry pail is a visit to the Vermontville U-Pick Blueberry field.
The cultivated U-Pick field of hybrid high-bush blueberries is planted in easily accessible rows. The plants are a variety of early, mid and late-season plants. I walked along the various rows and lost count at 16. I was distracted by the berries. With over an acre of land and between 800-1000 bushes, the U-Pick field provides three-seasons of picking for those of us that want a fun pick-your-own experience with little effort.
I went for a quick drive on Norman Ridge Road a few days ago to scout the number of berries on the bush. I want to come back with my mother because she won’t eat all the berries like my children. I can depend on her to bring berries home. Plus, my mother wants a slice of blueberry pie. Somehow the ability to save berries has not resonated with my children. It is also nice to walk away with a locally grown product free of pesticides.
I can be a bit ambitious when picking blues. I get into a berry-picking zone, searching for one more berry to fill the pail. Thankfully the prices are reasonable at $5/lb (U-pick) or $6/quart (picked for you). Keep in mind that blueberries that are a bit red or purple will ripen off the branch, but green and white berries will not. Keep blueberries at room temperature to ripen at home. You can also place them in a paper bag to speed the process.
The field is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sometimes there is someone there to monitor the process, but mostly it runs on the honor system. Bring your own container. There are some baskets to use and brown bags to fill if you’ve forgotten. A scale and cashbox are on a table at the entrance.
To get there from Saranac Lake, take the Bloomingdale Road (Route 3) to Bloomingdale. Turn right and head toward Vermontville. Turn right onto Fletcher Farm Road (look for the U-Pick sign) and drive 1.5-miles to Norman Ridge Road. The U-Pick field is on the corner of Fletcher Farm and Norman Ridge Roads. Enjoy!
Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.” For more family-friendly activities go to www.AdirondackFamilyTime.com.