U Pick Blueberries: Where It's At
I have about 100 favorite things to do in Portland in the summertime, and picking blueberries certainly tops the list. A few weeks ago, when I grew weary of paying $3.99 for a pint of blueberries at our much-loved, but oftentimes overpriced grocer, I packed up the kids and met some friends out at Sauvie Island Farms. Certainly not my favorite place to pick, but I was desperate to build up a good supply of berries to keep my voracious blueberry hounds at bay. My boys were blowing the budget with their ravenous appetite for what is arguably the world's most perfect fruit. Twenty miles from Portland, Sauvie Island is not a bad drive especially if you're planning to make a day out of it, and if you are planning to pick up other produce besides blueberries. However, I find that the Sauvie Island Farm blueberry shrubs are stockier than at other locations, and that there was a lot of kneeling required. Kneeling is a pain when you've got a 20 plus infant strapped to your back. I also find that because of the popularity of Sauvie Island and being fairly late in the season, the crop was sparse. Despite these conditions, we walked away with 17 pounds of blueberries combined between the two families. Granted, I accompanied the most determined and focused berry picker who singly plucked the majority of the fruit from our outing. Don't let the fact that she can be seen in the cool weather stomping around town in her totally hip red boots fool you.
After my boys completely devoured our supply of blueberries in about a week, I knew I had to visit the old standby, Armstrong's Blueberries (in outer SE) to replenish our supply. Armstrong's in located in the most unlikely of places, tucked away near some new developments on the edge of Portland. What it lacks for pizazz, it makes up for in berry appeal! In my opinion, the blueberries are much tastier, and the fruit easier to pick. It's a small operation which appears to be a labor of love. At $.80 a pound, it's about half the price of the Sauvie Island Farms and half the distance (even better yet). Even in late August, there was plenty of fruit left to be picked. They are not open every day of the week, and sometimes they remain closed to allow the trees to regrow. You know you're also dealing with some honest folks when they subtract the weight of your container from the total cost of the berries. Be sure to weigh your containers prior to picking. Lastly, fill out a postcard and they will send it to you next year when the crop is ready. Armstrong's Blueberries is located at: 17522 SE McKinley Rd. Call ahead to see if they are open: (503) 667-0348. And if it's too late this year, there's always next year. Where's your favorite place to pick? Anything the urbanFamily needs to know before venturing out for a berry-fun (sorry the pun) time?