Finding fresh, locally grown produce is not hard, if you know where to look. Some families look no further than their own backyard garden. But for those without the backyard garden, nor the time or inclination to garden, fresh produce can be found in community supported agriculture (CSA) co-ops, farmers markets and a “few pick your own” gardens.
The majority of the “pick your own” farms offer fruit and/or a variety of berries. Among the few “pick your own” produce farms are Day Farms in Layton, Farnsworth Farms and Cider Mill in Sandy, and Bascom Farm Produce in Orem.
Day Farm is a 20-year-old family farm, operated by Bill Day and his sons, Tom and David, located on West Gentile Road in Layton.
“We are trying to preserve the farming way of life,” VeeAnn Day said in a recent interview. VeeAnn, David’s wife, works with the sales end of the business.
“We have a lot of families come pick produce,” VeeAnn said. “It gives kids a chance to see where food comes from. I’ve observed that when kids pick their own fruit and vegetables, they are more likely to eat it.”
“A ‘pick your own experience’ gives the consumer a chance to see and taste produce and fruit that has ripened in the garden,” said David Cornaby, of Cornaby’s Farm in Salem, Utah. “Many people have never tasted field ripe food. Most food that is shipped to our local markets has been bred for its shipping quality, not for its taste.”
“We come here (to Bascom Farm Produce) because this is a guaranteed way of getting local produce,” Jen Bracken-Hull. “It’s different than farmers market, because we can pick what we want. It’s also good for my little girl to see where food comes from.”
McBride’s Briar Patch, an acre and a half berry farm in Mapleton, is owned by Wayne and Joyce McBride. They grow a wide variety of raspberries and blackberries. “Families come to pick berries for home evenings,” Joyce said. “BYU students come to pick as a date.”
However, there can be a downside to the “pick your own” experience.
“’Pick your own’ produce presents challenges because of the liability,” said Dean Miner, director of the Utah County Extension Service in Provo, Utah. “Produce picked by nonprofessionals often damages a garden, as well.”
To make your “pick your own” experience positive and to limit the possibility of injury while picking your own food, follow these tips offered by the farmers interviewed.
• Dress appropriately. The ground may be uneven, or there may be rocks or insects, so don’t wear flip-flops or sandals. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect arms and legs from scratchy leaves or berry thorns and bugs. Wear a hat and/or sunscreen.
- Walk in the paths provided, not through the plants.
- Be gentle with the plants. Don’t yank, pull or break leaves or stems when picking.
- If you don’t know if something is ready to pick or you’re not sure how to pick it, ask the farmer.
- Most “pick your own” farm websites share the following kind of information:
- a phone number
- driving directions
- information about what kind of produce is currently ready for picking
However, websites don’t always contain current information. So it is advisable to phone ahead to find out what is actually available, what current prices are, hours for picking and if containers are provided to carry the picked produce, or if you need to bring your own.
• Although some farms may accept credit cards, be prepared to pay with cash or a check.
This list of resources will help you get started in your quest for a “pick your own” food experience this summer.
• Bascom Farm Produce, 250 East Center, Orem, Utah (behind Smith’s)
Phone: 801-224-0885. Alt. Phone: 801-372-2879. Vegetables and herbs
• Cornaby’s Farm
671 West Salem Canal Road, Salem, UT 84653
Phone: 801-754-4968 Raspberries and some produce
• Day Farms 2500 West Gentile Road, Layton, Utah 84041
Phone: 801-546-4316 Vegetables and raspberries
• Farnsworth Farms and Cider Mill
11228 South 700 East, Sandy, Utah Apples, some pick your own produce.
• McBride Briar Patch, 1849 South 2100 West, Mapleton, Utah 84664
Phone: 801-367-0755 Raspberries and Blackberries