Houston’s Berried Treasures

Houston’s Berried Treasures

By Christina Uticone / Photography By Carole Topalian | June 04, 2015
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blueberries, handful blueberries

U-Pick Berry Farms near Houston

Summer is coming, and with it, Houston’s short-but-sweet blueberry and blackberry seasons.  Sure, you could just keep your eyes peeled at your local farmers market beginning in late May—but why not hop in the car and head to one of the many farms around the city that invite you to harvest them yourself?

From late May through early- to mid- July, blackberry and blueberry farms are ripe for our picking.  There are more than half a dozen farms within an hour’s drive of Houston that allow visitors to pick their own blueberries and blackberries. We’ve included several, but don’t forget to check out pickyourown.org for listings by state and even by county, as well as picking, canning, freezing, drying (dehydrating) and preserving tips from berry farmers.

BERRY NEAR

Aspiring berry pickers in Harris County can head in almost any direction to get picking. If you enjoy a scenic drive, a visit to P-6 Farms in Montgomery brings you almost all the way to Sam Houston National Forest—a great choice if you would like to add a little hiking or camping to your outdoor weekend adventure.

You’ll find Blessington Farms about 20 minutes west of Katy in Wallis County, where Lynne and Dave Johnson offer visitors a glimpse of the country lifestyle they love. “We’re on the edge of a big urban center, and you don’t have to drive hours and hours to get here,” said Lynne.

BERRY ORGANIZED

Matt Family Orchard in Tomball “We always recommend folks to call the Fruit Hot Line [281-351- 7676] to check on conditions, hours and availability,” said Rick. “Come early, bring water and be prepared to block the sun with clothing and sunscreen”.

P-6 Farms owner Carey Poole concurs, and says the early bird gets more than just the best berries.  “When you get here early, it’s not so stinkin’ hot!” said Poole, who also advises visitors to consider bringing gloves, as their variety of blackberries—Kiowa—sport thorns.  “Our berries are on trellises, so no bending down,” said Poole. “Some folks find it easier to pick without gloves, but some people will want them.”

PICK AND PAY

Prices range from about $2.50 to $10 per pound; some farms also charge a small admission fee, so check the farm’s website to verify the types of payment accepted.

 

blueberry, blueberries

BESIDES BERRIES

It’s easy to turn a few hours of berry picking into a full day of fun. Rick Matt invites you to make a day of it at Matt Family Orchard. “We have a 2,000-square-foot pavilion where we have campfires. We have hayrides out to where you pick, and a playground and games for the kids,” he said, adding that berry picking and a picnic are a very popular option for group tours.

At Blessington Farms, berries are just the beginning. “We have a lovely multi-acre picnic area and lots of animals—geese, peacocks, ducks,” said owner Lynne Johnson. “Everything we have has a Texas connection,” she added proudly.

P-6 Farms hosts a steady stream of school field trips throughout the year, and the Poole family prides itself on their educational programming that connects visitors to the food they eat.  “We expose ‘agriculture in process’ in an unparalleled, hands-on way,” said Carey. “Depending on the season, visitors are able to see a variety of produce growing in the field, and see exactly where their food comes from!”

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