Sunday, June 29, 2008

You pick

"Patience, young grasshopper," Alyssa tells me after listening to me whine about the sad state of my community garden. It's late June and I had expected to bring bundles of zinnias to my colleagues by now. I have a few green tomatoes, first buds on my squash, and my pole beans are only now starting to twine around the poles. I had nothing to complain about to my kid sister; her Idaho garden, after all, received snow a couple of weeks ago, yet she manages crops of carrots, chard, lettuces, and potatoes. She's much more patient than I am on all accounts.

If the Columbia Farmer's Market provides any indication of how farms are faring in the Ozarks, my measly little loess-based patch of land is anomalous. Tables of berries, chard, onions, zucchini, mung bean sprouts, bok choy, lettuces, tart cherries, dill, Thai basil (and so on) encourage me to shell out gobs of money every Saturday to support local farmers. The bright green leaves pouring out of my refrigerator all week are, indeed, a welcome sight. My garden will come around one of these days, if my compost is as healthy as it looks and I'm patient with our cool, wet climate.

So, for the past few Saturdays, I've rushed down the street to the market without brushing my hair to score pints of blueberries and cherries. I can eat my weight in berries and decided I should carve out my Sunday afternoon at a you-pick berry farm just outside of Columbia. To my dismay, the Little Cedar Berry Farm is now closed to you pickers and the other Boone Co. farm doesn't grow blueberries. But scattered throughout the Ozarks, one can spend as little as $1.50 for an entire pound of blueberries, but only at you-pick farms.

I called several sites this morning on my search for open blueberry farms. A complete listing of all Missouri you-pick farms can be found here, but make sure you call each farm before you go; hours and availability are not accurately listed on the website for each season. The following are currently open for blueberry season (directions and phone numbers can be found here).

LaClede Co., near Bennett Spring State Park: TCB Blueberry Farm, open July 1

Greene Co., in Rogersville: Sunshine Valley Farms

Moniteau Co., near Jamestown: Missouri Highland Farm

Pulaski Co., on Hwy. D outside of Dixon (home of a great bluegrass festival): Meyer Tree and Berry Farm

St. Charles Co., near St. Louis: Wind Ridge Farm (open July 1)


Erin said...

We have picked at the Berry Patch south of KC ( It is a fantastic patch and the berries are amazing. They have been picked out every week this year so we haven't been. You have to be diehard and get there early on Tuesday. But it would be worth the trip just to get their muffins and blueberry lemonade from the store. Delicious....

TSannie said...

I grew up in Columbia many years ago. My parents still live there and it's always so wonderful to get back home. We have farmer's markets here in CT, but nothing like the Columbia market. I'll be back the last of July/first of August and can hardly wait!
My parents live on the east side of town in the middle of about 45 acres. It is paradise.