UPDATE 5/24/16: PYO schedules and offerings tend to vary each season. Please visit Rose’s website or call their info line at 860-633-7467 for the most up-to-date information on picking schedules. You can also follow their Facebook page, which is regularly updated with the latest information on crops and conditions.
If you haven’t noticed, we really love Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury. We’ve written about their amazing Sunday breakfast, their awesome fall festival, and most recently, their PYO strawberries at the Hebron Avenue farm stand. So when our friend Julie over at A Year with Mom and Dad wrote this post about her berrying adventure at the main farm a few weeks ago, we knew we had to go check it out too.
Of course, we couldn’t resist scheduling our PYO outing on a Sunday so we could also indulge in some blueberry topped pancakes.
As always, breakfast was delicious. Afterwards, we headed down to the store to figure out the berry picking situation. There’s usually a sign out front that will tell you what’s available for picking and how much you’ll pay.
If you have to make a pit stop, now is a good time because there aren’t any facilities out in the picking fields (none that I saw, anyway).
I knew from Julie’s post that we needed to find the truck that shuttles back and forth to the berry fields. The trucks run about every 10 minutes, more frequently if it’s really busy. While you’re waiting, you can have a seat in the nice, shady gazebo right outside the store. That’s where the line for the berry shuttle forms.
This time I remembered to bring a plastic bucket for Boo to use for collecting berries. It also worked well to amuse him while we were waiting for the shuttle.
While we are discussing the berry shuttle, you should know that there are two ways to ride. You can either sit on the outside benches or climb up into the flatbed in the middle. There aren’t any restraints on the benches, so you’ll probably want to keep your little one on your lap if you ride that way.
A better option with small children, especially if you are chaperoning more than one on your own, is to climb up into the flatbed. Boo loved riding this way along the bouncy farm roads. Just watch where you sit in case there are a few stray berries rolling around 🙂
First stop, the blueberry fields. As it turns out, you can walk to the blueberry fields if you prefer. They are just up the hill from the store.
When we got to the top of the hill, we hopped off at the blueberry fields. The shuttle then continues on to the raspberry fields when those are in season too. There are some staff members stationed up here. They will show you what rows you can pick in. There are large buckets and smaller buckets available for collecting blueberries. The small buckets are attached to a long rope so you can hang the bucket around your neck or across your shoulders and free up both hands for picking.
There were lots of beautiful blueberry bushes just dripping with berries.
It was definitely easier for Boo to pluck the blueberries off the bushes than it was for him to pick the strawberries off the plants on our last PYO adventure.
But mostly, he just wanted to collect mulch in his bucket 🙂
After we had half-filled a small bucket with blueberries, we decided to hop on the shuttle and ride out to the raspberry fields. You definitely cannot walk to the raspberry fields.
While blueberry picking pretty much lasts all summer, raspberry picking is only available at certain times. You’ll want to check the harvest calendar, or even better, Rose’s Facebook page, for the most up-to-date picking info.
Unlike the blueberries, which you pay for by the pound, raspberries are sold by the pint container. So even if you allow your little one to collect the berries in a bucket, you’ll want to make sure you fill a pint container since that’s what you’ll be paying for (of course, if you don’t pay any attention like I did and turn up in the store to pay for two half-full containers, the lovely folks at Rose’s will prorate them for you so you don’t end up paying for a lot of empty space.) Pint containers and flats are available at the picking area. And again, there is a staff member up here to help out and answer questions. It’s nice to know you’re not alone all the way out there.
Raspberries also grow on bushes, so they are easy for little hands to pluck. The raspberry bushes do, however, have tiny little prickers on them (I did not notice any prickers on the blueberry bushes). So you might want to direct your littlest ones to pick the fruit on the ends of the branches, rather than let them stick their whole arm into the middle of a bush. Boo was actually great at picking the raspberries. The trouble was in getting him to drop them in his bucket before he squished them 🙂
We didn’t stay very long at the raspberry fields because it was really hot out that day. Fortunately, just like clockwork, the next shuttle pulled up 10 minutes after we arrived.
We hopped back on the shuttle, and I was expecting it to stop at the blueberry fields again before heading back down to the store. You see, I had mistakenly forgotten to bag my blueberries in one of the provided plastic bags and instead was still toting them around in the white plastic bucket (and had just noticed that no one else was still carrying their blueberries in a white plastic bucket). Turns out the shuttle makes a complete loop and goes directly from the raspberry fields back to the store (so if you picked your raspberries first and now want to pick blueberries, you can either walk up the hill to the blueberry fields or wait until the shuttle is ready to depart again).
You pay for your berries in the store. You can also purchase prepackaged berries and lots of other goodies there too.
I was a mess when I got to the counter. I had my blueberries still in the plastic bucket, the two half-full pints of raspberries, and to make matters worse, I forgot that hubby was outside with the diaper bag and, consequently, my wallet. But the staff at Rose’s is always so wonderful and accommodating that I got nothing but friendly smiles as they bagged my blueberries, prorated my raspberries, and stood by while I dashed outside to track down my wallet. Delicious breakfast, beautiful berries, and an accommodating staff with endless patience for frazzled mommies like me. Have we mentioned that we really love Rose’s Berry Farm?
Where have you been picking your own lately?
Rose’s Berry Farm
295 Matson Hill Road, Glastonbury, CT
Click here to visit their Facebook Page.
Get directions here:
Hours & Pricing:
Breakfast with a View, Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Berry picking hours can change daily. For picking times, we strongly encourage you to visit Rose’s Facebook Page or call ahead (860-633-7467) as schedules vary based on weather conditions and crop availability.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Although we recommended pants and closed-toe shoes for the kiddos when we went strawberry picking, blueberries and raspberries both grow well above the ground on bushes so the little ones won’t be climbing around in the plants the same way they were in the strawberry fields. Go ahead and dress them in shorts and sandals. It’s probably going to be hot out there!
- Ditto for you. I wore shorts and flip-flops and that was just fine.
- Containers are provided at both picking areas, but it’s still a good idea to bring a little bucket for your little helper. The blueberry bucket on a rope and the raspberry pint containers are hard for little hands to hold.
- Go early if you can. It can get very hot out in those fields. We were done by 10:30 and it was already broiling.
- Whatever time you go, be sure to bring sunblock (and hats too if you have them).
- You can walk to the blueberry picking fields, but you must ride the truck out to the raspberry fields. This means that you will have to wait on a truck to bring you back down to the store, so be prepared to spend a minimum of 10-15 minutes out there, plus the 5-minute ride back.
- Drinking water is available at no charge at both picking stations.
- Purchase your berries back at the store.
- Credit cards accepted for a minimum charge of $10.
- Forget your cash? There are plenty of delicious and/or adorable things to buy in the store that will easily make up the difference so you can use your card 🙂
- Rose’s also has a lovely toddler playground (read more about it here).
- Plenty of parking available in a large lot near the store (drive down the hill after you enter the premises from Matson Hill Road).
- Restrooms: Porta-potties near store/parking lot; no changing station, but there are sinks for hand washing. There are no restroom facilities out in the picking fields.
- Check out Rose’s blueberry picking tips here and raspberry picking tips here.
- Don’t forget to check out Rose’s recipe page for some great ideas on things to make with your berry stash,
Our YZ giveaway in May went so well that we’re dipping our toes into the freebie waters again. Check back tomorrow to see what we’re giving away this time.
Then on Monday: Surprise! We’ve got a just-can’t-wait post about another local summer music festival.
Plus, Mandy is giving you a VIP tour of a popular pool club, and I’ve got the most indulgent installment of our Tiny Diner Series yet.
Want to keep up with all our Out and About Mom adventures?
Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we dish up more Momsense for getting out and about with your little ones. Don’t have time to check back in? Let us send you an automatic notification of new posts straight to your email inbox by signing up here. Also, you can like us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest posts and get some extra tidbits we share only through those sites.