It's shaping up to be another early and prolific berry season in Puget Sound. As of late May, many strawberry farms are already open for U-pick, and raspberries and bluberries will be early, too. What better way to pre-celebrate the long, lazy days of summer than by picking buckets full of juicy, sweet, sun-ripened blueberries straight from the vine?
- Most important: Check farm websites and Facebook pages or call ahead to make sure U-pick is happening and to confirm times.
- Doublecheck the farm's website for address and directions, as some of the map apps don't work as well for more rural locations (eg, we've had trouble arriving at Bolles farm via a map app).
- Arrive early; fields can get picked out by noon. An alternative is, if a farm has plenty of U-pick available, to show up in the late afternoon to avoid crowds and direct sun.
- Keep in mind that fields typically have little shade, so bring plenty of hats, sunscreen, water, snacks, and — for littler kids — some alternative toys such as bubbles.
- Wear closed-toe shoes.
- Bring cash or make sure that the farm accepts credit or checks (the bigger farms usually do).
- Strawberries, because they grow close to the ground, are most physically demanding to pick. Raspberries and blueberries are easier pickin' (at least for grown-ups).
- Especially with small kids in tow, keep your picking expectations low. And remember: You can usually buy pre-picked berries at a farm as well, often for only a fraction more than U-pick prices.
- Boxes or pails are usually provided, or bring your own.
- Typically, farms don't mind if kids eat as they pick (or as they run around) but doublecheck. You could also offer to weigh your child before and after picking. :)
Bolles Organic Berry Farm, Monroe
Founded in 1997, Bolles Farm is one of the few Washington State certified organic berry farms around, offering a variety of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries (as well as honey). It's a small farm, so be sure to check ahead to make sure U-pick is happening and they have berries left. Combine it with a trip to the Reptile Zoo, just up the road. 17930 Tualco Loop Road, Monroe, 425-876-9878 Get pickin’: Bolles has raspberries and blueberries open for U-pick, $4/lb. for raspberries, but they aren't open every day Check the Facebook page for daily updates and hours. Bolles Farm accepts cash, checks and debit/credit cards.
Willie Green's Organic Farm, Snohomish
A 65-acre family-owned organic farm near Monroe, Willie Green's sells all kinds of veggies and berries at farmers markets throughout the Seattle area. Stop by to pick raspberries and blueberries. 19501 Tualco Road, Monroe, WA 98272. 360-453-7030. Get pickin': Willie Green's has raspberries available now, blueberries soon. Check the website and Facebook for the latest updates.
Biringer Farm, Arlington
Operating since 1938, large Biringer Farm is a family favorite, with a small playground (including a climb-on tractor) that kids will love to play on before and after picking. They'll also love riding the Jolly Trolley” out to the berry fields, where you can pick to your heart’s content. After picking, picnic near the historic barn, or shop the market for Slicers (containers of fresh sliced and sugared strawberries that come ready to eat and freeze) and local honey. Don't miss its annual strawberry fest on June 21–22, with extra activities including a small petting zoo (only available on festival weekends). 21412 59th Ave. N.E., Arlington, 425-259-0255 Get pickin’: Biringer has raspberries for U-pick. Pre-picked also for sale. They accept cash and credit cards. Hours are Monday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. but check their website or Facebook page or call the berry line at 425-259-0255 before you go. (Note: Make sure you plug the address into your map app, as the iPhone map app comes up with a different address for Biringer.)
Remlinger Farms, Carnation
If you'd like your berry-picking with a side of amusement park, Remlinger is the place for you, with a family fun park just right for the short set (pint-size carnival rides, a petting farm and ponies, small steam train and more). As for U-pick, admission is free, and containers are provided. The farm uses natural fertilizers. Crowds can get crazy in the summer — make it a morning or evening trip or go during the weekend. 32610 N.E. 32nd St., Carnation, 425-333-4135 Get pickin’: Raspberry U-pick is open. Call 425-333-4135, ext. 250 or check this page on the website or Facebook page to confirm whether berries are available and hours. Cash only. No admission price for picking fields. The full family fun park is open on weekends; and the toddler version (limited rides) is open on weekdays. Starting on June 13, the full amusement park opens daily through the summer.
Harvold Berry Farms, Carnation
This smaller farm in Carnation, a reader favorite, has U-pick strawberries and raspberries for affordable prices. Containers are provided. Call before arrival to be sure the fields are open, and word is to bring cash. No pets in field. 32325 NE 55th Street,Carnation, WA 425-333-4185 Get pickin’: Raspberry U-pick is open; check the Facebook page or call 425-333-4185 to see if the farm is open for picking. Bjornstad farms, Lynden
"The berries are huge!" says a fan. Bjornstad sells U-pick raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries, as well as tayberries, blackberries, and marionberries. And it sells fresh-picked corn later in season. 6799 Old Guide Rd., Lynden, 360-961-4702
Get pickin': As of July 3, raspberry U-pick was open; blueberries available starting July 8. Call 360-961-4702 or check the Facebook page to check on U-Pick status.
Schuh Farms, Mt. Vernon
Second-generation farmers Steve and Susan Schuh have been selling U-Pick berries for three decades. They grow strawberries, raspberries and tayberries (a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry) as well as cherries. The 500-acre farm includes a 100-year-old home, barn and henhouse. Their fresh produce is available at local farmers' markets around the Seattle area, and the little retail shop offers tasty treats like raspberry honey and tayberry jam. There are also animals to see. 15565 State Rte. 536, Mount Vernon, 360-424-6982 Get pickin’: Raspberry U-pick is open sporadically; check the farm's Facebook page or call for updates. They accept Visa and Mastercard as well as cash.
South Sound U-Pick
Picha's Berry Farm, Puyallup
Third-generation farmers Dan and Russ Picha continue their family tradition of growing and harvesting some of the juiciest, sweetest berries around. They run a farm in Tacoma and one in Puyallup, featuring summertime strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Strawberries are the only U-Pick berries, available June–early July. Containers available. 6502 52nd St. E., Puyallup, 253-841-4443
Get pickin’: Strawberry and raspberry U-pick is open. Check the Facebook page for updates or call ahead. Cash and checks only at Tacoma, Puyallup cash, check, credit and debit.
Duris Farm, Kent
Duris Cucumber Farm sells produce and berries at two locations, Puyallup and Kent, but they offer U-Pick only at its Kent location. They also sell green beans, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash and dill. Directions to Kent location: Take Willis St. exit off 167. Go to the corner of Washington Ave. & Frager Rd. and follow the signs to the field.
Get pickin': Check Facebook page for status of U-Pick.
Mountainview Blueberry Farm, Snohomish
Keith and Janet Stocker's Mountainview Farm is nestled against a hillside in the Snohomish River Valley, and on clear days one can see all the way to Mt. Baker. Dating back to the 1940s, the blueberry farm grows 20 varieties of blueberries. Blueberry preserves and syrups are available as well. 7617 E Lowell Larimer Rd., Snohomish, 360-668-3391
Get pickin’: Blueberry U-pick is open as of July 1. Check website or Facebook page for updates and lots of blueberry recipes. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Buckets provided. They prefer cash but will take cards.
Carpenter Creek Farm, Mount Vernon
Owned by a family who lives in northeast Seattle, Carpenter Creek is a small blueberry farm located just south of Mount Vernon. Stop for ready-picked blueberries as well as U-Pick. Though the farm is not certified organic, it does not use any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on our farm. Bonus: Keep your eyes peeled for red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, bald eagles, tree frogs, and other animals.
Get pickin': U-pick not open for the season yet. Check the website for picking availability. Cash or check only. Bring your own containers. During picking season, hours tend to be Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Canter-Berry Farms, Auburn
Canter-Berry Farms grows eight different varieties of blueberries, boasting flavors from sweet to tart to (a little) spicy. Though not Certified Organic, the farm does not use sprays and limits chemical use. Buckets are provided to pick with, but bring your own to carry the berries home in. One fun fact: Canter-Berry Farms also raises, trains and shows American Saddlebred horses. 19102 SE Green Valley Rd., Auburn, 253-939-2706
Get pickin’: U-pick not open for the season yet. Check the website or Facebook page.
Blue Dog Organic Blueberry Farm, Carnation
A small, family-owned farm that is certified organic and has a unique U-Pick model, Blue Dog grows big, sweet, certified-organic blueberries. Blue Dog now primarily offers U-Pick on a membership basis. Members pay $25 for a season and get access to U-Pick starting around mid-late July, which means they'll have a less-crowded picking experience. This working farm also has cows, chickens and a little stream to dip toes in. 7125 W Snoqualmie Valley Road, Carnation, 425-844-2842
Get pickin’: U-pick not open for the season yet. When open to the public, hours are typically 9 a.m.–noon. Call ahead.
Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm, Bellevue
Located in the lovely Lake Hills Greenbelt area, Larsen Lake is operated by the Bellevue Parks and Community Services Department in order to preserve Bellevue’s agricultural heritage. After filling your pails, stroll the trail near the lake or do some fishing. Or if it's hot, head up to the shaded produce stand, where you can shop for reasonably priced peaches, nectarines, yellow tomatoes, and of course blueberries. Or just put your feet up on the porch swing. Bring valid Washington State ID as a deposit for picking bucket. 700 148th Avenue SE., Bellevue, 425-260-2266
Get pickin’: U-pick not open for the season yet. Check website for status. Bring checks or cash. Larsen Lake minimizes chemical and pesticide use.
Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm, Bellevue
Just off I-90 in Bellevue, find another historic blueberry farm that couldn't be more convenient for a quick pick. New this year: Bill Pace produce stand has closed, and Mercer Slough farm is being managed by the Larsen Lake folks. They don't spray. 2380 Bellevue Way S.E., Bellevue. Get pickin': Cash or checks only, please. Call 425-499-5322 to check availability. Larsen Lake minimizes chemical and pesticide use.
Henna Blueberry Farm, Fall City
Located in the Snoqualmie River Valley and surrounded by a nature slough, Henna Blueberry Farm grows 10 varieties of exceptionally sweet berries over five acres (they don’t use synthetic pesticides or chemicals). Frogs, turtles, beavers, cranes and others make their home in the slough, so pack a picnic and go “critter-viewing.” The farm uses natural growing practices.1800 Fall City Carnation Rd., Fall City, 425-806-2751 or 206-605-4601
Bryant Blueberry Farm, Arlington
This farm couldn't be more kid-friendly. It has a playground, picnic tables and shady spots to sit and rest, eat, farm animals, and uses sound environmental and sustainable agricultural methods. Besides blueberries, Bryant offers currants, tayberries and raspberries, as well as blackberries, loganberries, and boysenberries, and many berry products. 5628 Grandview Road, Arlington. 360-474-8424
Get pickin': U-pick is open! Check the Facebook page for updates.
Bybee Farms, North Bend
Head towards Mount Si and you'll eventually find this lovely farm, which sits at the foot of the mountain and grows six varieties of U-Pick blueberries, as well as some raspberries and fresh-picked vegetables. "Beautiful scenery and super yummy berries!" says a reader. 42930 S.E. 92nd St., North Bend
Get pickin': U-pick is open as of July 3! Call 425-888-0821 or 425-888-5745 for the latest info. Normal hours are 9 a.m–8 p.m., most days. $2.10/lb.; cash or check.
Linbo's Blueberry Farm, Puyallup
Linbo's grows 20 (!) varieties of blueberries, all of which are grown pesticide free on the farm. While you're picking, you can enjoy — a reader reports — classical music played on speakers in the fields.
1201 S Fruitland, Puyallup
Get pickin': U-pick opens Saturday, July 8. $2.50/lb. Linbo's is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on the weekends, but check the web page or Facebook for updates.
Charlotte's Blueberry Park, Tacoma (formerly Blueberry Park)
Free blueberry picking in a city park? Who's in? Volunteers maintain the more than 3,000 blueberry bushes in this park, which has been farmed since 1929. Metro Parks does not use any pesticides or fertilizers on the blueberry plants. Volunteer work days are held the third Saturday of the month, March through September, 9 a.m.–noon.
Get pickin': Picking season is July to September, dependent on weather. You can pick five varieties of blueberries. 7402 E D St., Tacoma
Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum
A certified organic family farm and artisan cidery, Finn River is situated along a restored salmon stream in the Chimacum Valley on the Olympic Peninsula (just south of Port Townsend). Finnriver is not a typical U-PIck farm, but runs a “Berry Collective,” which means U-pickers pay a fee to pick, plus the $3/lb. for the berries. If you go, be sure to check out Finnriver’s amazing hand-crafted hard ciders and spirited fruit wines. 62 Barn Swallow Rd., Chimacum, 360-732-4337