Another way I like to explore in the summer, is to take day trips on nice weekends. You can find a lot of things to do from within 2 hours from our house in Michigan. One thing we enjoy is picking fruit during the summer months. Michigan is a big aggreculture state and grows a lot of different fruit.
This year we have had a lot of rain and not too many warm sunny days so things have been a little slow maturing. I did manage to pick 8 pounds of strawberries on 6/21 from a berry farm about 20 minutes away.
TIP: I follow some of my favorite fruit growers on Facebook so that I know when it’s the best time to go picking.
On 6/28 I saw that cherries were ready so I made a plan to go pick on Saturday. We pick at Lemon Creek Winery and Farm Market in Berrien Springs, which is just under 2 hours west of us. Since my daughter lives right in the middle, we picked her up on the way. This is a big fruit growing area and also boasts the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. We picked about 12 pounds of cherries of 3 varieties. Black sweet cherries, sour pie cherries and some wierd yellow ones that my husband Mark thought were cool.
Fruit picking is thirsty work, so we headed inside the winery afterward for Maggie and I to do a wine tasting. It’s always nice to add something else fun like a few hours at the beach or a stop at a brewery, winery or dinner out when we go picking because it makes the trip a little more interesting for everyone.
Fruit I Harvest Locally
Strawberries – Mid to late June
- Eat them
- Shortcake with homemade whipped cream
- Strawberry Sauce
Cherries – End of June first of July
- Black Sweet Cherries for eating
- Sour Cherries for a Pie
- Infusing Vodka
Blueberries – Throughout July
- At least 2 Blueberry Pies
- I freeze the rest to eat throughout the year (15-20 lbs)
Peaches – Late July and August
- Eat them
- Peach Cobbler
- Freeze some
Apples – September and October
- Spyes for a few pies
- Apple Crisp
We have wild black raspberries, red raspberries and mulberries on our property. I used to plant a big garden, but since it is just Mark and I, that doesn’t make much sense any more. Now I just plant a few immediate use items like herbs and salad tomatoes in my Kitchen Garden. There are several Farm Stands and Markets nearby that I can pick up garden items like sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash.
What I Plant in my Kitchen Garden (aka Flower Beds, lol)
- Lemon Thyme
- Grape Tomatoes
It just feels good to pick something that you are going to eat. I love being able to cook with fresh herbs or turn fruit I have picked into something delicious. Plus it is fun to turn a trip to harvest into a fun summer adventure. I hope you get to enjoy whatever fresh produce grows near you.