We don’t have to admit summer is coming to an end just yet, but we do have to acknowledge that we’ve reached the magical time in late-summer when the berries are ripe for pickin’ in Washington! A state dotted with rich land for farming, we’re lucky to live in such a bountiful place. Enjoy the season, and keep your eye on the prize (blueberry muffins) at these five u-pick farms in western Washington. Prices range from $2.25-$3.50/lb, which is a considerable savings from most grocery store prices. Spend the afternoon in nature and save a few dollars by picking your own blueberries this August. Just be sure to call ahead or check online for hours and availability, as times and picking can fluctuate depending on the season and demand.
1. Cascadian Farms ($3.50/lb)
You may know them from the frozen section, but this local farm isn’t just the producer of frozen fruits and vegetables. Cascadian Farm operates a charming farm stand off of Highway 20 in Rockport. A great stop on the way back from Diablo Lake, or a destination in its own right. This certified organic farm tops the list of u-pick destinations for its stunning scenery and homemade ice cream, alongside u-pick berries of all sorts (depending on the season). You can also peruse their selection of snacks, hand-picked cartons of berries and refreshments. I highly recommend taking home a jar of jam.
2. Mountainview Blueberry Farm ($2.80/lb with a 5lb min)
With nine expansive acres of blueberry bushes, Mountainview Blueberry Farm in Snohomish certainly has enough u-pick blueberries to go around. Grab one of their special belt-attaching buckets and start picking! They’re open every day, except Monday, from 8am-5pm. They do accept credit cards, but like most u-picks cash is preferred. Nifty weight estimations on the buckets can help you keep tabs of your final bill. Rows are long, so you may be tempted to take a bit of a stroll. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are recommended. Otherwise, go early to pick near the entrance before it’s picked over!
3. Bybee Farms ($2.25/lb)
Nestled in the shadows of Mount Si and down a dead-end road lies a quaint farm with rows of blueberry bushes. There’s plenty of designated parking and space to spread out in order to find your perfect picking spot. Bybee Farms in North Bend is a great, no-fuss destination just 40 minutes outside of Seattle. They provide buckets of various sizes for picking, and separate containers to take home your haul. With a handful of varieties to pick, you can choose to hone in on one variety or mix up your bucket however you’d like. They aren’t organic by label, but their sustainable practices are about as close as you can get. Hours are 9am to 8pm, so go early or go late to avoid the crowds. I went on a Friday evening and there were only a few cars in the lot. Note: Cash or check only.
4. Canter-Berry Farms ($2.25/lb)
As a smaller operation, you’ll need to check their website before you head out to Canter-Berry Farms in Auburn, WA, but it’s an easy trip for those south of Seattle. The owners (who you’ll meet!) regulate picking, so you’ll be assigned a bush to pick from and be given a bucket, but be sure to bring your own containers to take home your haul. Like others on this list, they do not use chemical pesticides and practice sustainable farming. You’ll notice the horse in their logo, which is a giveaway to their other passion: raising American Saddlebred horses. In addition, they have a small shop with outdoor seating. Open 8am-6pm on designated picking days.
5. Bryant Blueberry Farm ($2.50/lb)
On your way to the north Cascades, stop at Bryant Blueberry Farm in Arlington for a family-friendly picking spot. With ample parking, kids play areas and farm animals, there’s plenty to keep the little ones occupied if picking doesn’t suit them. In addition to blueberries, you can pick your own flowers and purchase other produce or snacks. U-pick flowers? You heard right! Guests are also encouraged to bring a lunch to picnic on the grounds. They’re closed Fridays and Mondays, but open on the others from 8am-4pm and provide picking buckets and take home containers.
Just in case you end up with an excess of blueberries next week, here’s a quick and easy recipe for Lemon Blueberry Bread by Glorious Treats that will showcase your pickings. Remember, it’s best not to rinse berries until you’re ready to use or eat them. If you do rinse them before storing, be sure they’re dry before you put them in the fridge.
Have a great spot that didn’t make the list? I’d love if you shared it in the comments below. My fridge and freezer are currently stocked, but I’m surprising myself at how many blueberries one person can eat in a sitting.