Edible Landscaping

Charlie says… Go Picking at a Farm

If you can't grow all that you need, support a pick your own farm. It's a great, fun family outing and you'll pick tons of fresh food at a reasonable price.

Certainly my newsletter is all about growing, harvesting, and preserving your own food from your own landscape. However, even the most avid gardener may want to stock up on a few locally grown fruits and vegetables for freezing, canning, and preserving. Maybe your edible landscape is in a small yard and you have plenty of fresh veggies and fruits for your table, but not enough to preserve for the winter.

Well, let local farmers come to the rescue. For the first time in history, the number of farmers in the United States increased since the last census 5 years ago. Much of the growth is in small farms and many of those sell directly to the public. One of the most popular ways to sell directly to the public is through the pick-your-own model. The pick-your-own world has expanded so that almost anywhere in the country you can find a farm that will let you come in and pick your own veggies and fruits. Not only are you getting outside on a quiet farm for some exercise and relaxation, the price of the food is usually cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of produce at a farm stand or grocery store. Plus, it's a fun family activity. I still go pick strawberries and blueberries with my 21 year old daughter as an official "fun outing" with dad.

If you're wondering where to find a pick-your-own farm in your area, here's a web site that will help. Pick-Your-Own (www.pickyourown.org) lists farms by county and state. Each listing has a phone number, email, and even website. Not only can you find a farm in the U.S and overseas, there are crop availability calendars letting you know what crop is ready for harvest when, instructions on how to pick, and extensive instructions on how to can, freeze, make jams, and preserve your bounty.

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