Nothing says summer like a bowl of fresh local berries. Luckily, here in BC we have a variety of berries available right out our back door throughout the summer months. Berry picking with the girls is always on our summer bucket list. Luckily, the girls are eager to role up their sleeves and get a bit dirty. Taking kids to pick their own berries is a great way for them to understand where their food comes from. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the benefits of eating and supporting locally grown food. Berry picking is a great family activity and you can still do it during covid 19 with a little extra planning. Let’s take a look at covid 19 safety protocols you may encounter berry picking this year.
Do your research before you go to find out what berries are available for u pick and times available. Some farms may only offer online reservations to avoid large crowds of people. For a list of u pick farms in your neighbourhood check out pick your own.
No sampling :
One of the big changes to this years covid 19 safety protocols is no snacking. This protocol is aimed at reducing the risk of passing the coronavirus on from someones mouth to a plant that their hand touched. Like any other family outing I pack plenty of snacks. I like to pack portable snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables, granola bars and nuts. Don’t forget to keep the kids well hydrated with plenty of water.
No reusable containers:
Similar to grocery stores, farms are not allowed to have pickers bring their own containers. Instead, you will be asked to purchase a reusable container from the farm or they will provide you with a box.
Get to the patch early in the morning:
If your kids are like mine they are up early. I always find family activities are successful after a good night sleep and a full belly. The summers get pretty hot and picking berries in the mid afternoon heat is no fun for anyone. I suggest you go as soon as the farm opens to avoid the hot sun and large crowds of people. Remember to bring a sunhat, sunscreen, and stay hydrated with plenty of water.
Last but not least have fun! Although berry picking will look a little different this year it does’nt mean we can’t have fun. Kids attention spans fade quickly. What seems like a family fun activities may soon seem like a chore. Make it fun by playing games. Encourage them to find the biggest strawberry or the weirdest shape berry.
Now what should you do with all those delicious berries you picked. Besides snacking on them after they have been washed, of course. We love making smoothies, popsicles, muffins, baked oats, and salads. I also like to preserve the deliciousness of summer by freezing them for the winter.
Preserving Summer’s Bounty:
I like to pick and buy extra berries in the summer months so that we can reap the health benefits and taste all year long.
Rinse your berries in a colander and remove any stems or leaves.
Place your berries on a clean towel or paper towel and let them dry completely before freezing.
Place berries on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Place frozen berries in containers or freezer bags. Label and date berries.
Enjoy all year round in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt or baked goods.