Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Faircloth Farms

Well, it isn't quite peak blueberry season yet. Mid-July is when the berries peak, and August is when pickin' gets really good. But if you are anything like us you are craving some fresh berries and your kid can't stay away from them. And it is good to encourage your child to eat fruit, right?

So my family and I were ready to give it a go, even if it meant more work as we had to pick around the young berries to find the ripe ones.

I know that Herndon Hills Farms is one of the most popular places to go, and I am sure I'll make it over there soon. But it is in Durham. And I am a Mom in Chapel Hill. And even though, as you can tell, I make it out to Durham a lot, I thought we would try to find something closer to home this time.

After a search on www.pickyourown.org (which is a great site if you don't have it bookmarked already), we contacted Faircloth Farms, found out they had some berries ready for picking, and went out there.

This was quite a funny experience. As former NoVA residents, we're used to packaged experiences. For example, Jean's Berry Patch was a packaged experience: there were tons of signs, lots of information, people telling you what to do, and a process. Faircloth Farms is really just someone's farm out in the country where they let you come pick their blueberries because they have more than they can eat.

For starters, we had no idea if we were even at the right spot. After asking a man working in the field, we found out we were and parked. We walked up to someone's front door, rang the bell, waited, and eventually found some people who told us where the berries were and to help ourselves.

We had fun. Like I said, it isn't quite peak season yet, but there are a ton of berries out there. In about a week, you are going to be able to run your hand down one bough and get enough for a cake. No kidding. But when we were there, there were still a lot of unripe berries. So we had fun teaching C which ones were ripe and which ones were not. He may have learned a little from trial and error too.

When we went to leave, we showed our goods to the farmers. They have to be the nicest people ever. They told us that the amount we picked (about a pint and a half, or 3 cups) wasn't worth paying them for, and told us to have a nice day and enjoy them. I am not sure they will be that generous in a few week's time, but that also means I can't tell you what they charge.

The grounds were very pretty. It is definitely an old farm, well established and practical, but also well-tended.

It was such an interesting experience for us, and we enjoyed it. We also enjoyed how close it is to Cole Park Plaza and Chapel Hill in general. And it is nice to feel like somewhere people are holding on to the friendly, farming life, and allowing us, complete strangers, to enter it every now and again. It is a beautiful lifestyle and so important.

Call before you go. Not just so that you can ensure they still have berries, but also to make sure the family knows you are coming! Take bags or boxes to put your berries in. Nothing provided.

And now off to make my cobbler....

Faircloth Farms
577 Gilmore Road
Chapel Hill



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