Berries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and can help fight cancer, promote brain health and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Fresh berries are perfect for snacking, adding to fresh salads or for baking delicious desserts like pies and tarts. Berry picking can be an enjoyable, relaxing way to spend a warm, summer day. Many farms in Illinois grow all types of berries that you can pick yourself.
Plow Creek Farm
Plow Creek Farm (plowcreek.org) is located in the town of Tiskilwa in north central Illinois. From May through October, you can pick your own fresh fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. The farm grows five different varieties of plump, juicy strawberries, including Jewel and Northeaster, as well as both black and red raspberries. Although it is not certified organic, the farm prides itself on using only fertilizers produced from natural processes and prohibits use of chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Located in the small northwestern Illinois town of Alpha, Country Corner (country-corner.com) lets you pick your own berries to take home with you. Strawberries are harvested in May and June while raspberries are ripe from July through September. The farm plans to have blueberries available for picking starting in 2012. The farm also features a corn maze, pumpkin patch and barnyard zoo. Country Corner offers school tours and group picnics as well.
Garden Patch Farms
Garden Patch Farms (gardenpatchfarms.com) is in Homer Glen, just southwest of Chicago. The family-owned farm has been growing fresh fruits and vegetables since 1936. From June through October, the farm offers visitors the chance to pick their own fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries, as well as pears, cherries, apples and a variety of vegetables. Potted berry bushes are available for sale for your home garden or orchard. Jams, jellies and gifts are available at the farm's market store.
Piatt County in east central Illinois is home to Pontious Farm (pontiousfarm.com), which has been growing fruits and vegetables for more than 40 years. Each summer, visitors come to pick plump, ripe blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries and raspberries. The farm proudly operates on the honor system and welcomes visitors at no charge and at anytime, day or night. The farm features picnic areas, a petting zoo and play areas for children. Pontious Farm does not use insecticides on its crops.
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