Pick-your-own berries now in season at local farms
If you're planning to go berry picking this summer, now is the time to do it.
Blueberries are at the peak of their season, and this year was a "bumper crop," said Paul Hafner, owner of Paul Hafner Farms in Baldwinsville.
"This is absolutely the easiest picking of the season," Hafner said.
Raspberries and blackberries are also available at the local Abbott Farms.
"We're really busy right now," said Shana Eamerick, who works as a cashier at Abbott Farms. "A lot of people are coming in asking where (they can) pick (the berries)."
Berry farmers welcomed the recent torrential rains, which didn't threaten to damage the crops like the July heat wave, Hafner said. Even after the rain, some people headed out to the fields to bring home some of the harvest.
"You want to eat (the berries) reasonably (soon after picking)," Hafner said.
Concerned you won't eat them all before they spoil? The New York State Berry Growers Association suggests freezing them to preserve their freshness. Rinse berries lightly to remove debris, put them in freezer bags and toss them in the freezer to enjoy well after the season is over.
Hafner said frozen berries will last for years as long as the freezer door is not left ajar.
To go berry picking, all you'll need is a set of free hands. Hafner's Farms offers a "picking bucket" which hangs around the neck, leaving the hands free to search for berries. Though both Hafner and Abbott farms supply buckets to take berries home, Hafner's encourages people to bring their own.
At Abbott Farms, blueberries cost $2.50 per pound, and raspberries cost $3.50 per pound. Abbott Farms has a small selection of blackberries for $3.50 per pound, Eamerick said. Hafner Farms charges $1.60 per pound for blueberries and does not offer raspberries or blackberries.
Visit paulhafnerfarms.com or abbottfarms.com for locations and hours of operation.
Leslie Pantel (center), Josh Smith (left) and Trenton Pantel, all of Balwinsville, pick blueberries at Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville.