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  • strawberry picking

    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2004, 8:21 am
    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2004, 8:21 am Post #1 - June 22nd, 2004, 8:21 am
    I think I saw a posting about this awhile ago, but couldn't find it even through mulitple searches. I did find a list through google, pasted below. My questions are:
    - are there any farms closer to Chicago?
    - Will there still be good berries the weekend of the 4th of July? I can't get there til then, due to working every other weekend :evil:

    Thanks in advance!

    Backwoods Berry Farm
    27244 Hettick-Scottville Rd.
    Hettick, IL. 62649
    217-436-2510
    Strawberries, asparagus, blueberries, and blackberries.

    Berry Patch
    351 Spangle
    Stauton, IL 62088 (Madison County)
    (I-55 Frontage Road 1 mile North of Livingston)
    618-637-2686

    Pick Your Own: strawberries
    Open: Open after May 15- June 9
    Suggest you call before coming. Expect a good crop.

    The Berry Patch
    James & Charmaine Orr
    11471 Lynn Road
    Buffalo Hart, IL 62515 (Sangamon County)
    217-364-5606
    jdcdorr@fgi.net
    www.the-berry-patch.com

    Pick Your Own and Roadside Market: asparagus,strawberries, blackberries, red raspberries (fall crop), pumpkins, ornamental corn, gourds.

    Blue Berry Hill Farm
    675 Wrights Crossing Road
    Cobden, IL 62920
    (Strawberry farm just off Hwy. 51, north of Cobden)
    618-893-2397

    Pick Your Own and Roadside Market: fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelons. Fresh peppers, squash and turnips.

    Broom Orchard
    12803 Broom Road
    Carlinville, IL 62626 (Macoupin County)
    217-854-3514

    Pick Your Own: fresh apples, Roadside Market and Wholesale: peaches, plums and strawberries (crop is good).
    Open: May

    Demange Farm
    10349 W. Astor Road
    St. Jacob, IL 62281 (Madison County)
    618-644-9218

    You pick or they pick. Ready end of May.
    Open: Around May 20, 7 am - 7 pm daily (only)

    W. J. Donahue Sunshine Farm
    3540 Fairmont
    Collinsville, IL 62234 (Madison County)
    618-345-0766

    Pick Your Own: strawberries
    Open: 8 am - 7 pm

    Dunn's Farmstand
    21302 W. Angle Rd.
    Wilmington, IL 61481 (Will County)
    815-476-7667


    Pick Your Own and Roadside market: asparagus, strawberries, green beans, okra, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant..
    Open 9 am
    "Food is Love"
    Jasper White
  • Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:31 am
    Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:31 am Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:31 am
    Messy!

    Where I go can be a Chowist combo trip:

    Thompson's Strawberry Farm
    Wisconsin Rt 50, 1 mile west of I-94
    (Less than 5 miles from the Illinois boarder)

    Tel: 414/857-2353 (Wisconsin)
    847/679-8140 (Illinois)

    Picking began at this location on June 16th and is expected to run 3 weeks.

    I just got off the phone with the Illinois hotline indicating picking today. Warning there was rain last night, the fields are muddy but straw has been placed between the rows.

    A 4-quart basket costs, which they supply: $6.25
    If you pick 6, then you get the 6th basket free, which is what we do. Sometimes we go overboard and do a dozen.

    Prepicked 4-quart baskets cost: $10

    No raspberries this year.

    Other Chowist stops nearby: Woodman's grocery store just east of the expressway; run up to Kenosha to buy Kringle; in Racine is Kewpie's slogan: "Hamburger with pickle on top / Makes your heart go flippity-flop." Just over the boarder in Illinois in Zion is my favorite take-out shrimp at Captain Porky's just north of the south entrance to Illinois Beach Park.

    I would suggest do your excursions before picking as the strawberries are delicate creatures who need processing fast when they are at peak ripeness. Or bring a very generous cooler.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:41 am
    Post #3 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:41 am Post #3 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:41 am
    Oooh, thank you!

    Now I have questions, though:
    Do you think this is the closest out of the (kooky) list I posted, or is it just your favorite?

    Seems that picking will go til July 7 - three weeks from start date. Do you think there will be enough berries left, to go on June 30th or July 3rd?

    What is Kringle?

    Ps. Thanks for your postings recently - I have really enjoyed reading them! :D
  • Post #4 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:53 am
    Post #4 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:53 am Post #4 - June 22nd, 2004, 9:53 am
    Hi,

    Distance is in the eye of the beholder. I don't think you realize that some u-picks you listed take you mid-state around Springfield and St. Louis or due west to the Mississippi.

    I go to Thompsons because it is 25-30 miles due north of me, plus I have my little routine to amuse myself and my workers ... oops nieces!

    Those which are within convenient driving distance from your list:

    Dunn's Farmstand
    21302 W. Angle Rd.
    Wilmington, IL 61481 (Will County)
    815-476-7667

    Mary's Berries
    9495 E 1500 N
    Momence, IL 60098 (Kankakee County)
    815-472-6015

    McCann Berry Farm
    18110 Kishwaukee Valley Road
    Woodstock, IL 60098 (McHenry County)
    815-568-8810

    Theis Produce
    6 N 593 County Line Road
    Maple Park, IL 60151 (Kane County)
    815-895-9712

    Thank you for your comments about my postings. If I didn't do it, then all my fun would go away!

    Kringle is a pastry which is quite popular in that immediate area. I am providing a link but check around as there are several competitors. My Mom bought one the other day made with blueberry and cheese filling. Unfortunately the crispness was long gone, I prefer ones filled with nuts which don't exude too much moisture and keep the pastry crisp.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - June 22nd, 2004, 11:38 am
    Post #5 - June 22nd, 2004, 11:38 am Post #5 - June 22nd, 2004, 11:38 am
    One more note to Cathy's usually thorough post. PLEASE call the places before showing up planning to pick. First, some of these places do not always have a lot of berries and sometimes it is too muddy to pick.

    BTW, I didn't know about the place on Kishawaukee Valley Rd. And I live right off of it by the Claussen plant!
  • Post #6 - June 22nd, 2004, 3:14 pm
    Post #6 - June 22nd, 2004, 3:14 pm Post #6 - June 22nd, 2004, 3:14 pm
    Try Berrien County Michigan--closer than many of the Illinois places listed. We picked there two weeks ago. The Michigan Department of Agriculture maintains a list at http://www.mda.state.mi.us/market/u-pic ... mplate.asp

    But I strongly echo the advice to call first.
  • Post #7 - June 26th, 2004, 10:45 am
    Post #7 - June 26th, 2004, 10:45 am Post #7 - June 26th, 2004, 10:45 am
    Hi,

    In my earlier post, I referred to Kringle from Racine. I just found a thread on the other board from someone who understands better where to go:

    Where to go for Kringle

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - June 26th, 2004, 11:07 am
    Post #8 - June 26th, 2004, 11:07 am Post #8 - June 26th, 2004, 11:07 am
    Ann Fisher wrote:Try Berrien County Michigan--closer than many of the Illinois places listed. We picked there two weeks ago. The Michigan Department of Agriculture maintains a list at http://www.mda.state.mi.us/market/u-pic ... mplate.asp

    But I strongly echo the advice to call first.


    I went to the Farmer's Market this morning in South Bend.Many of the vendors are from Berrien County. Strawberries are slim pickings. OTOH, lots of very nice blueberries, some cherries, and blue and black raspberries.

    Call first.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #9 - June 3rd, 2007, 8:01 pm
    Post #9 - June 3rd, 2007, 8:01 pm Post #9 - June 3rd, 2007, 8:01 pm
    HI,

    I drove by Thompson's Strawberry Farm on Route 50 just west of I-94 over the Wisconsin border. They expect the season to begin in mid-June, though you can conditions at their website.

    Thompson's Strawberry Farm has been reduced. Where they now plant 26 acres of U-Pick Strawberries at their peak they had 150 acres. There is a new subdivision on the old acreage. In total, they now manage 100 acres with 40 devoted to pumpkins and others to raspberries.

    In the past and probably still today, the best deal is to pick 6 gallons of strawberries because the 6th one is free. These berries are great to eat out of hand, freeze or make jams.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - June 4th, 2007, 1:27 pm
    Post #10 - June 4th, 2007, 1:27 pm Post #10 - June 4th, 2007, 1:27 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    I drove by Thompson's Strawberry Farm on Route 50 just west of I-94 over the Wisconsin border. They expect the season to begin in mid-June, though you can conditions at their website.


    LOL, my strawberries will be done and gone by then. I've been picking in my yard for over a week.

    Local conditions and varieties make a huge difference as will the recent rains. Cathy2's suggestion to check local conditions is spot on. It always pays to call ahead.

    That said, July 4th is stretching the season a bit so I'd go now if possible.

    Diannie
  • Post #11 - June 4th, 2007, 5:23 pm
    Post #11 - June 4th, 2007, 5:23 pm Post #11 - June 4th, 2007, 5:23 pm
    If anyone wants to set up an excursion for berry picking next Wednesday, send me a pm, as I could drive. I have a pretty big cargo area in my car.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #12 - June 9th, 2007, 12:42 am
    Post #12 - June 9th, 2007, 12:42 am Post #12 - June 9th, 2007, 12:42 am
    Strawberry season is now. At least as far as Thompson's Strawberry Farm is concerned. Here are some highlights from today's trip:

    Image


    Image


    Image


    Image


    Image


    ps: they still have the "buy 5, get 6" deal. One bucket was $6.50.
  • Post #13 - June 9th, 2007, 7:18 am
    Post #13 - June 9th, 2007, 7:18 am Post #13 - June 9th, 2007, 7:18 am
    Hi,

    How many gallons did you pick? How long did it take with X people?

    Once it took me 2.5 hours when I came toward the end of the season to collect 6 gallons. While it began with 2 adults and 3 children. The kids got their education and drifted off to inspect the farm after about 15 minutes. My Mom pooped out after an hour or so. I was there for the full time butt up in the air and head to the ground.

    Since then I have come earlier in the season, usually on a Thursday or Friday evening to pick. I freeze the ripest on cookie trays when I get home. The rest is for eating and jam.

    Thanks for the report and inspiring pictures. Picking came earlier than I would have expected.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #14 - June 9th, 2007, 7:38 am
    Post #14 - June 9th, 2007, 7:38 am Post #14 - June 9th, 2007, 7:38 am
    daveco_hen wrote: Here are some highlights from today's trip:

    Wow, great pictures!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - June 9th, 2007, 7:55 am
    Post #15 - June 9th, 2007, 7:55 am Post #15 - June 9th, 2007, 7:55 am
    daveco_hen wrote:Image


    If another LTH calendar ever materializes, I nominate this picture as Miss June.

    Cathy2 wrote:I was there for the full time butt up in the air and head to the ground.


    I do not nominate that picture, however. :roll:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - June 9th, 2007, 3:32 pm
    Post #16 - June 9th, 2007, 3:32 pm Post #16 - June 9th, 2007, 3:32 pm
    Cathy, do you can the strawberries (as jam, I assume?) That seems like a huge amount to process quickly...

    Has anybody tried the Alton Brown method of freezing, which he proports to produce firm thawed berries?
  • Post #17 - June 9th, 2007, 9:24 pm
    Post #17 - June 9th, 2007, 9:24 pm Post #17 - June 9th, 2007, 9:24 pm
    MHays,

    You'd be surprised how quickly berries can disapeer into jam. You have to crush enough to make a quart (or whatever the quantity). If I am using pectin, then I do single batches and sterilize the containers before filling. I sometimes crush berries, add sugar, then cook until reduced and thicked in double batches and don't sterilize the containers. Pectin added jams have shorter hot water bath processing times because they can break down. Reduced jam with no pectin can handle a full 10 minutes processing time. The threshold between having to sterlized jars in advance or not is 10 minutes processing time.

    I will also make strawberry preserves using whole berries.

    While I prefer a straight rhubarb pie, I might make 1-2 strawberry rhubarb pies to keep people happy.

    One year I had two guests from Poland who very enthusiastically helped me collect 12 gallons of berries. I was ready to stop at 6, but they had so much fun I just let them do their thing.

    Due to the changing dynamics of my family, I haven't made strawberry jam in at least two years. I am out and in the mood for it this year. It is just a matter of finding the time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - June 16th, 2007, 6:52 am
    Post #18 - June 16th, 2007, 6:52 am Post #18 - June 16th, 2007, 6:52 am
    I'm currently out of the country, but if anyone is looking to go between June 25-29, I'd be in! I don't have a car, but would definitely contribute to gas expenses for whoever drove. I haven't been strawberry picking since I lived in Wisconsin 5 years ago.

    Mmmm, homemade strawberry preserves...


    -Katherine
    Katherine

    Everyone has a price: mine is chocolate.
  • Post #19 - June 16th, 2007, 11:23 am
    Post #19 - June 16th, 2007, 11:23 am Post #19 - June 16th, 2007, 11:23 am
    Cathy2 and I went to Thompson's yesterday. Unfortunately, there were few very ripe berries. A couple more days of hot weather and they should be ready -- maybe next week/weekend according to the people working there.
    I hope to go again, Katherine, so when I do, I'll let you know. BTW, the cheap gas ($2.94/gallon on 6/15) in Wisconsin pays for your trip!
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #20 - June 16th, 2007, 1:19 pm
    Post #20 - June 16th, 2007, 1:19 pm Post #20 - June 16th, 2007, 1:19 pm
    Josephine, that would be great. I've only been on the forum for a few days, but I've already read a lot by Cathy as well, so it would be a lot of fun to meet you two. Keep me posted!
    Katherine

    Everyone has a price: mine is chocolate.
  • Post #21 - June 16th, 2007, 4:26 pm
    Post #21 - June 16th, 2007, 4:26 pm Post #21 - June 16th, 2007, 4:26 pm
    At the farmer's market, one of the vendors was saying the hot weather would mean the end of strawberry season - is that true? (they were from further south, so probably not the same climate zone)
  • Post #22 - July 5th, 2007, 1:19 pm
    Post #22 - July 5th, 2007, 1:19 pm Post #22 - July 5th, 2007, 1:19 pm
    Earl's Berries, Fennville, Michigan

    Given that strawberry season is over, this post is for informational purposes only at this point. Nevertheless, Earl's Berries in Fennville, Michigan, should you be up that way, makes for a nice U-Pick experience. U-Pick raspberries and blueberries are also available at Earl's.

    Coming up on Blue Star Highway (A-2) from the South, look for Earl's Dutch-style barn:



    Image

    The strawberry patch was in full swing 2 weeks ago:

    Image

    The best strawberries are under the leaves, as they say:

    Image

    After about an hour in the field:

    Image

    Earl's also has a farm market where, on that day, beautiful asparagus and shelled fresh peas were sold:

    Image

    Later, macerated strawberries for shortcake:

    Image

    Earl's Farm Market
    1630 Blue Star Highway
    Fennville, Michigan
    (Exit 30 of I-196)
    (269) 227-2074
  • Post #23 - June 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    Post #23 - June 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm Post #23 - June 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    Looks like the season is almost upon us, so I thought I'd bump this thread, lest I forget. I checked the Thompson's website, and they're saying that the season will be a bit later this year because of the cool start - June 20 was the date they gave (though this recent hot spell has me wondering) Earls' website says June 18 for U-Pick (though this week is listed for we-pick)
  • Post #24 - June 12th, 2008, 5:31 pm
    Post #24 - June 12th, 2008, 5:31 pm Post #24 - June 12th, 2008, 5:31 pm
    I called these 4 today, and listed underneath each what I found out:

    Dunn's Farmstand
    21302 W. Angle Rd.
    Wilmington, IL 61481 (Will County)
    815-476-7667
    --ready! 9-5, also open Sundays

    Mary's Berries
    9495 E 1500 N
    Momence, IL 60098 (Kankakee County)
    815-472-6015
    --Ready! 11-4 this Sunday - sorry, don't know times other days of the week

    McCann Berry Farm
    18110 Kishwaukee Valley Road
    Woodstock, IL 60098 (McHenry County)
    815-568-8810
    --Many already picked, advising to wait until the 16th, but fruit available until the 4th of July. Open 8-4

    Theis Produce
    6 N 593 County Line Road
    Maple Park, IL 60151 (Kane County)
    815-895-9712
    --Number is disconnected

    After FOUR YEARS of wanting to do this, I am finally making it happen this weekend!
    Will post when we get back.
    "Food is Love"
    Jasper White
  • Post #25 - June 13th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    Post #25 - June 13th, 2008, 6:48 pm Post #25 - June 13th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    FYI: Thompson's said they hope they will be ready 6/20/08.

    Thompson's
    14000 - 75th Street
    Bristol, WI 53104

    Anyone know of any strawberries patches in the Northern Illinois area that are ready now?
  • Post #26 - June 13th, 2008, 9:06 pm
    Post #26 - June 13th, 2008, 9:06 pm Post #26 - June 13th, 2008, 9:06 pm
    When I went picking in Vermont last year (highly recommended Strawberry festival if you're in the area), they had about a dozen varieties including one that was a dark magenta that they said tasted like a raspberry at the center. I'm not so sure about the berry taste-cloning, but it was nice to walk and pick amongst choices. Some were delicious and very different than your supermarket varieties (what isn't?).

    Do any farms around here have more than one variety of strawberry? They don't seem to advertise them on their sites.
  • Post #27 - June 16th, 2008, 1:39 pm
    Post #27 - June 16th, 2008, 1:39 pm Post #27 - June 16th, 2008, 1:39 pm
    We finally made it! Yesterday, we headed southwest to:
    Dunn's Farmstand
    21302 W. Angle Rd.
    Wilmington, IL 61481 (Will County)
    815-476-7667
    This is not a well advertised area, or a full-blown strawberry operation - just something they are doing on the side. Also, if we had been 10 minutes later, we would have missed them as they were "headed into town", so it would be smart to call ahead. You pay by the pound, on the honor system, and drop money into the box by their scale (which is in pounds and we picked 15 lbs! :shock: )
    Dunn's picking is more on the foraging end of things because they do not use pesticides and so their field is a mixture of weeds, grass, thistles, etc, and quite a lot of undergrowth covering up the berries. The berries themselves were wonderful though, and many large clumps of fruit could be found with some patience. I could easily sit for about 5-10 minutes per spot and keep finding prolific plants.
    We had lunch at the Lauching Pad, which was not very good (but definitely better than the only other choice, McDonald's). It's about an hour and a half drive from the city so if you really need sustenance I'd pack lunch next time. Interestingly, it's on route 66 and next to the Gemini Giant: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/IL-Wilimington.html

    Last night I made 20 jars of jam...they will taste so good in December!
    "Food is Love"
    Jasper White
  • Post #28 - June 16th, 2008, 2:11 pm
    Post #28 - June 16th, 2008, 2:11 pm Post #28 - June 16th, 2008, 2:11 pm
    Sounds wonderful! I love strawberry picking time; one of my favorite times of year. Did you do a cooked jam, or a freezer jam (or both)?
  • Post #29 - June 17th, 2008, 7:58 pm
    Post #29 - June 17th, 2008, 7:58 pm Post #29 - June 17th, 2008, 7:58 pm
    I did freezer jam, because I like the lower-sugar recipe as well as the fresher taste. I followed the directions on the Sure Jell box for Lower Sugar Recipes. When looking at the boxes side by side in the grocery store, it's hard to tell which is which, but just pick the one that has more pectin in it, and it will also say for lower sugar recipes somewhere on there. Sorry I already threw away all the boxes and recipes, otherwise I could describe it better and copy the recipe. Even though it's lower sugar, I still used quite a bit, ie., for 20 10 oz jars of jam I used 10 cups of sugar. The final product has a clean, bright, fresh strawberry taste, and it's very soft so you could spoon it onto ice cream and shortcake as well as toast.

    I was going to document with pictures, but it was enough work alone just prepping the berries and making the jam! Someday, everyone will see the mess I create, but not now. :D
    Last edited by messycook on June 29th, 2008, 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Food is Love"
    Jasper White
  • Post #30 - June 18th, 2008, 9:44 am
    Post #30 - June 18th, 2008, 9:44 am Post #30 - June 18th, 2008, 9:44 am
    OK, using the map, I decided to try Johnson's Strawberry Farm in Hobart, IN - and maybe we'll stop at the Dunes...who knows. A call confirmed they're ready for picking and open from 8-6 daily. I'll post with delicious pictures when we get back!

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