Friday, July 5, 2013

Top Five on Friday: Pick Your Own

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM

A handful of freshly-picked fruits and vegetables from Kelders Farm in Kerhonkson.
  • David Spagnolo
  • A handful of freshly-picked fruits and vegetables from Kelder's Farm in Kerhonkson.

There's a certain peace of mind and satisfaction that comes with eating or cooking food you've picked yourself. Maybe it brings out the primitivity in all of us, tying us to a time when humans were hunters and gatherers. Or, more simply, fruit and veggies pulled right from the ground, grabbed off a tree, or plucked from a vine just taste better than their supermarket counterparts. It's amazing what some sunlight and fresh air can do for the juiciness of a strawberry or the sweetness of a raspberry. This weekend throw on a pair of sneakers and go get yourself a bushel or a peck of summer berries—perfect for putting over ice cream, tossing in your cereal, or baking pies. Here are our top five picks for farms and orchards to get the job done.

1. Fishkill Farms
Passed down through three generations of the Morgenthau family, the farm is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow. Come pick cherries, black currants, raspberries, and strawberries all day while enjoying hayrides giving you a glimpse of the farm's sprawling acres. Later, you can enjoy a BBQ with eats like roast pork, grilled corn on the cob, root beer floats, and cherry and apple pie a la mode on the menu. Finish off the evening with music from a live brass band, a moonlit hayride, and a fireworks display. If you can't catch the centennial celebration, check out the farm any day of the week from 9am-6pm.

2. Kelder's Farm
Though this Kerhonkson farm also boasts everyone's favorite red and blue berries this season, it has some bonus goods and attractions which make it distinctive. After you've picked your fruits, you can pick your own flowers to brighten up your home as well as your kitchen. The farm's fruits, veggies, and herbs also serve as the landscaping of a 10-hole mini-golf course. Along the way you'll meet the world's second largest gnome, Gnome Chomsky, standing at 13 feet 6 inches. Later, go see what all the buzz is about and watch the farm's honey bees do their thing. You can purchase the sweet rewards of their labor at the farm's market. Learn more about the perks of buying local honey in Peter Barrett's article featured in this month's issue.

3. Samascott Orchards
Peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and peanut butter—some things are just meant to go together. Strawberry and rhubarb are one such pair. Luckily, you can find them both at this farm in Kinderhook, so get a few pounds of each and you'll be having pie for days. In addition to this duo, handpick blueberries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, black raspberries, and snap peas.

4. Greig Farm
Think of all the things you can do with blueberries—pie, muffins, pancakes, scones—the possibilities seem endless. Here's a list of 100 ways to use these blue antioxidant-filled fruits including some savory dishes like blueberry barbecued chicken and chipotle and blueberry pulled chicken. You'll need a lot of blueberries for all of these recipes, and Greig Farm in Red Hook has all of the berries you need. After you're done gathering up the goods for your meal, make sure the farm's friends are fed as well. There's a pasture of pygmy goats behind Gigi Marketplace, located right on Greig's 500 acres.

5. Och's Orchard
What better way to enjoy the fresh produce you picked yourself than to eat it right on the farm while taking in beautiful views of this Warwick farm. Take your berries and peaches with you to a picnic lunch in the gazebo at the peak of the orchards. When you're done, head back down to meet the the farm's ducks, miniature goats, Misty the Sicilian donkey, and Eeyore the miniature donkey. Don't forget to grab a scoop of homemade ice cream for the ride home.

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