Looking for some fun activities to do with your kids this summer? I’ve enjoyed 22 summers with kids (and counting!), so I certainly have a few ideas to share! Stay tuned during the next few weeks as we provide all kinds of suggestions for making your summer with your kids meaningful. (Subscribe here so you won’t miss out!) Today’s idea: Go Berry, Apple, or Peach Picking!
I have the BEST memories of heading to orchards, farms, and friend’s houses in the summertime with my kids so that we could pick berries, apples, or peaches.
We live in small-town Nebraska, so we are blessed to have many neighbors and friends who have berry patches, gardens, and orchards. (Yes, we have a garden in our yard too. But we don’t have the space for planting in huge bulk like many of our country neighbors.)
For years and years when our kids were little, we’d take advantage of every invitation to “come pick!” that we were able to enjoy.
Allow me to take a walk down memory lane…
We had a friend with a huge strawberry patch, where we would all load our buckets! We got to do this for FREE. What a blessing! (They’ve since sold their farm and moved out of state. Happy for them, sad for us!)
We also have friends with a gorgeous apple orchard! In the late summer, we’d head out and get as many apples as we could, all for a tiny price per grocery bag. It seemed too good to be true!
One year, my friend Anne and I borrowed the orchard owner’s cider press. After picking apples at the orchard, we spent the afternoon with all of our kids experiencing the work and joy of making homemade apple cider!
Oh my babies!
One year, we headed to Michigan for a wedding, at the perfect time for fruit picking! As we drove, we noticed sign after sign advertising “You Pick!” farms. Matt and I decided to stop at several locations on the way and enjoy time as a family picking fruit and enjoying the experience. We all still talk about that trip as one of our favorite traveling memories!
Blueberries don’t grow well in Nebraska, so picking them during that trip to Michigan was a very special treat! (Also, as we ate berry after berry while we continued to travel, somehow I ended up sitting on some and staining/ruining my pants. Hahaha! The boys still remember that too! “Mom, remember how you sat in blueberries and ruined your pants?!” Good times.)
Mmmmm, peaches! While peaches do grow well in Nebraska, we still stopped at a Peach Farm during our Michigan trip to enjoy a wagon ride to pick peaches. Of course, we took advantage of their offer to “eat whatever you like!”
Why Go Berry, Apple, or Peach Picking
Truly, the fun and joy that come with picking fruit on a farm with your family is priceless.
Yes, there are bugs. Yes, it is hard work. Yes, it may be hot. So prepare yourselves, give the kids a pep talk, take water bottles, go before the hottest part of the day, and know that while you’d love the experience to be perfect, someone may still have a melt-down.
Through the years and beyond all the less-than-fun parts, our family found these fruit picking experiences to be wonderful because:
- The kids got to learn more about where our food comes from.
- The kids got to learn about the hard work it takes to put food on the table.
- We got to take home loads of delicious, nutritious fruit to eat in a variety of fun ways. (Details below!)
- It saved all kinds of money as we either had to pay very small prices per pound of fruit, or we were encouraged to take all we wanted for free!
Beyond Berry, Apple, or Peach Picking
Once the fruit is picked, then what? Well, the fun just keeps on keeping on!
Yes, the fun comes in the form or hard work. :)
After working hard to pick the fruit, of course, we eat as much fresh fruit as we can hold. NOTHING is more delicious than sweet fruit that comes directly off the tree or bush!
But next comes the fun and work of preserving what we can’t eat fresh. The hard work pays off for months as we enjoy homemade applesauce, frozen berries in smoothies, and peach cobblers in the middle of winter. We all work together to wash, cut, and process the fruit.
Here are some ways we preserve our fruit to enjoy all winter long:
- Make Applesauce with a Victorio or with a Blendtec. We use the water-bath method to can it – easy peasy!
- Make Apple Pie Filling to pull out for quick pies at holiday time. We freeze the apple pie filling or we can the apple pie filling – depending on pantry and freezer space.
- Make Apple Cider in the Crock Pot
- Make Apple or Peach Fruit Leather
- Freeze Whole Peaches – if we’re short on time. This turns them brown, but if we’re using them for smoothies or cobblers, it doesn’t matter!
- Freeze Peach Slices or Whole Strawberries
- Can Peaches for the pantry
What to make with Berries, Apples, and Peaches
You’re sure to come up with wonderful ways to use your freshly picked or beautifully preserved berries, apples, and peaches! Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the “fruit” of our labor. (Laura is punny.)
- Apple Crisp (We follow this recipe but use ANY fruit depending on what we have and what sounds good!)
- Fruit Cobbler (Recipe coming soon!)
- Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies!
- Strawberry Peach Slushies
- 16 Recipes to make with Strawberries
- Apple Butter
- Peach Syrup
- Easy Raspberry Pancake and Waffle Syrup
- Blueberry Pancake and Waffle Syrup
Ready to go pick fruit?
Now that our “first batch of kids” is older, if they are able to join us, we can really pick a lot of fruit since they are able to work like adults. And here we are again, starting the process with new babes God has put in our lives. We are excited to take our Bonus Boy on fruit-picking adventures as we know he’ll love it!!
Here’s to a great summer of fun with our kids! Here are other ideas we’ve shared so far:
Stay tuned for more fun Summer Kid Activity ideas!