A favorite summertime tradition in these parts is to pack up friends and family and head out past the Seattle suburbs for a day of picnicking and berry picking. There's no better feeling than the sun warming your shoulders while your fingers fumble for delicious, juicy, mouth-watering, lip-staining berries. Why pick your own? Simply for the experience. Just like other popular Pacific Northwest pastimes such as sailing, camping, or hiking, it's yet another way to connect with this beautiful area we call home.
Picking berries is an enjoyable (pessimists may say back-breaking - don't bring one with you) task that does require some forethought. First, be sure to call ahead and make sure berries are available and confirm u-pick dates and times. Many local farms are family-run, so they have specific picking days and requirements. You'll also want to see what types of berries are currently available for the picking. Each type of berry has a relatively short picking season that varies greatly with the weather and other variables - like pests. Some farms require you to bring your own bucket - you'll also want to pack up a picnic lunch, sunblock, a hat, maybe gloves and of course, lots of water.
Let the u-picking begin!
5. Remlinger Farms, 32610 NE 32nd St., Carnation, (425) 333-4135
Remlinger Farms, recommended by @sizzlesays on Seattle Weekly's Twitter feed, is the local standard for company picnics, warm-weather entertainment for the kids, and of course, summertime berry picking. Traffic to the farm can get crazy during the summer, so make it an early day and take the kids on some of Remlinger's rides, pick some berries, and then visit the farm stand shop for some of the best frozen pies around.
Perhaps best known for its fall corn maze and fields pocked with pumpkins just off I-5 near Everett, Biringer Farm also has a prolific berry-picking operation just up the highway at its Arlington location. Recommended by @foodiecritic on Voracious Twitter, Biringer currently has strawberries and raspberries for the picking!
A no-frills berry-picking experience, Lazy River Farm is a farmer's collective in Kent that offers u-pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Tucked away in the Green River Valley, you can enjoy whiling away a sunny day amidst the lush plants and perky bird calls. Because this is a working farm, they only offer berries when they are available - when they're picked, they're gone for good, so be sure to call ahead and reserve space.
2. Blue Dog Farm, 7125 W. Snoqualmie Valley Road, Carnation, (425) 844-2842
A family-owned certified organic farm, Blue Dog farm is open select days of the week to allow blueberries to ripen so everyone has a fair shot at getting the big ones. This is a working farm so there are also cows, chickens, and a lazy stream to cool your feet in. Be sure to call and check availability before you head out!
And Seattle's number place for u-pick berries is...
1. Bolles Organic Berry Farm, 17930 Tualco Loop Road, Monroe, (360) 805-1980
Eva Marczinko recommended Bolles on the Voracious Facebook page as am amazing place for a variety of u-pick berries including raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. This variety and the fact that the farm is also certified organic propelled it to the number one spot on the list. U-pick is available dawn to dusk each day and as with other farms, it is recommended you call ahead to be sure berries are available.