It’s that time of year when Washington’s blueberry crop is just about ready to harvest. If your kid crew has never picked berries before, blueberries are one of the easiest berries to pick—no thorns and the ripe ones just roll off the bushes. And with more than 40 blueberry farms across our state, and dozens within a short drive of Seattle, it’s easy to fill your bucket (and your belly) with this favorite summertime fruit. From Arlington to Enumclaw, we’ve hand-picked 11 organic and natural U-pick blueberry farms for your family to try.
Blue Dog Farm
Perfect For: Dawn ’til dusk access to bulk amounts of berries
Located in the quaint farming town of Carnation, the folks at Blue Dog are serious about their organic blueberries; they even have a membership-driven concept to better support their sustainable and organic farming practices. This is a great option for folks who want frequent access to lots of berries all season long. As a member ($30 annual fee or $25 before July 1) you get to come any day you want, dawn ’til dusk, and pick to your heart’s content at the self-service farm. (You’ll still pay by the pound, but you get to pick anytime you like and in the quiet and calm of a tranquil farm almost all to yourself!). Sign up to become a member at the farm on your first day of picking or by email. Memberships cover your family and friends, so invite your berry-picking buddies. Psst! Early evening berry picking is the best – bring a blanket and pack a picnic dinner.
Cost: $3.10/lb (members also pay $30 annual fee). Checks or Paypal only.
Hours: Members can pick daily, dawn ’til dusk.
Dates: Early July–end of season
7125 W. Snoqualmie Valley Rd.
Carnation, Wa 98014
photo: Blue Dog Farm Facebook page
Tips Before You Go:
1. What to bring: Bring berry buckets and some giant ziplock baggies to bring home your prize! Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, sturdy shoes and lots of water are also good to pack along. Most fields are in full sun, and sometimes you have to walk a while to find the perfect bushes. Be ready to be out in the sun for at least an hour.
2. Remember Sal and her mother. In the classic kids book, Blueberries For Sal, mom lets little Sal wander and she ends up having a bear cub encounter. Although you’re most likely safe from bears in all these fields, do keep a close eye on wandering tots. It’s easy for adventurous little ones to get disoriented in blueberry bushes that are taller than they are!
3. Bring cash or make sure that the farm accepts credit or checks.
4. Leave Fido at home. Most farms don’t allow dogs, and it’ll probably be too hot to keep him in the car.
5. Remember to always call ahead before you go picking since farm hours and schedules are constantly changing.
Editor’s note: The cool, wet spring and record rainfall have delayed many local harvests. Always call ahead before you go picking since farm supply, hours and schedules are constantly in flux.
Where does your family like to go for U-pick blueberries? Do you have any tips for making the trek with little ones easy? Tell us in the comments below!
— Abbey McGee, Katie Gruver & Kristina Moy