As the growing season progresses, many small, family owned farms open up portions of their fields for people to come pick their own. There are lots of reasons why picking your own fruits and vegetables from a farm is a good idea. It helps to support those small farmers who are working hard to stay in business and helps to preserve open land. You can get the absolute freshest produce and pick the exact strawberries, green beans, apples or even flowers that look good to you. It's also a lot of fun and good exercise.

If you're interested in finding a pick-your-own farm near you, you can go to to find farms in your state that allow you to come right to the farm and pick what is in season. By inputting your ZIP code, you'll get a list of local pick-your-own farms.

The website also has a directory of fruit festivals. When fruits are at their ripest, communities often come together and celebrate the sweet harvest with lots of food and activities for the family.

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

Find a pick-your-own farm near you
If it's not growing in your own backyard, the best way to get the freshest produce is to pick it yourself from a farmer's field.