Summer Harvest Season Adventures

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.

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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. 

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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
  • Frozen

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
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • 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
  • Eating
  • Apple Crisp
  • Applesauce

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)

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Oregano
  • 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.