Moms know that if you can achieve several goals with one activity, it’s a good day. Stone fruits are coming into season and you can take your kids on a field trip to pick cherries, apricots and, a little later this summer, plums, peaches and nectarines. What your family will get out of this: A lesson on where these great summer fruits come from and how they grow, an adventure, a road trip (practice being patient), and the spoils of the day to eat or use in your favorite recipes – making pie can be a fun activity for the family, too.
A great online resource for u-pick farms of all sorts is Pick Your Own, which lists farms by state. In the Puget Sound area, most farms offer u-pick berries and some apples. You have to travel to Eastern Washington, where the weather is more consistently warm, to get stone fruits.
Just across the Cascades is Stutzman Ranch in Wenatchee, which has u-pick Rainier cherries starting July 7 and peaches and nectarines later in the season. A little farther afield in Richland is Ray French Orchard, which offers u-pick Rainier and Bing cherries, as well as peaches and nectarines. You can visit fruit stands in Eastern Washington, too.
Of course, if you just want to buy just-picked stone fruits, you can always find them at the farmers markets from farms such as Rama Farms, Tiny’s Organic and Martin Family Orchards. Or, you can have the some great cherries shipped from Olmstead Orchards.
— Hsiao-Ching Chou