One of my favorite activities is going into the local farm fields to pick my own produce. Strawberries, blueberries, apples, corn, cherries, peaches … somewhere within driving distance there is a farm that will let you pick what you love. What’s so great about picking your own? I’ll give you 10 reasons.

  1. Zero waste. You can take your own containers. Beach buckets, regular buckets, boxes — anything that will hold the produce will do. The pick-your-own farm should be able to weigh your container before you begin to pick so you don’t pay for the weight of your container.
  2. It's less expensive. I can pick pounds of strawberries for about half the price of going into the little market right on the farm and buying them already picked.
  3. It’s the freshest, best-tasting produce. You can pick food that is perfectly ripe and eat it that day. You can also pick exactly which fruits or vegetables you want and make sure there’s not an unripe one in the bunch.
  4. It's educational. You and your kids (if you have them) can learn things. Ask the farm workers why the strawberry patch has moved from the past year or how they know when to bring the workers in to strip the patch clean because the growing season is done.
  5. You’ll connect with where your food comes from. If you don’t have your own garden, going to a farm and picking your own is a good reminder that food comes from hard work and grows in dirt. It’s a great lesson for kids, too.
  6. You'll support small farmers. It's not the big, agribusiness farms that invite locals to come pick. It's the small, family owned farms. They need our support.
  7. It's fun.
  8. It's good exercise.
  9. You can take awesome photos. Every year I get the best photos of my family in the strawberry, apple or pumpkin fields.
  10. You’ll have plenty to share. When I get home from the farmers market with a small pint of farm fresh strawberries, I’m not likely to give them away. But when I come home with 14 pounds of strawberries, I get in the mood to bake and share with neighbors.

To find a farm that offers pick your own during the seasons, go to

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

10 reasons to pick your own
Why pay supermarket prices when you can have the fun of picking your own and getting it for less?