There IS a cure for the summertime blues, and it’s BLUEBERRY PICKING at the pick your own blueberry farm at Lyman Orchards.
Blueberry picking in CT is typically available from July to mid-August, but always call the Lyman Orchards Pick Your Own Hotline at 860-349-6015 before heading out. While there is plenty of elbow room amongst our rows and rows of blueberry bushes, crowds are generally lightest Monday-Friday (including those not-quite-perfect summer weather days too!) You can find our 2021 Pick Your Own procedures here.
Consider just some of the advantages of picking your own blueberries at Lyman Orchards:
You can pick blueberries while standing up! Our four fields of Highbush are about 4-6 feet tall making blueberry picking a total back saver;
Blueberries can handle being stacked fairly deep on top of each other, unlike more delicate strawberries and raspberries, so placement into your blueberry container is a quicker process than you may think;
While blueberries are not the only blue food (blue corn, blue carrots, etc.), blueberries are the most plentiful shot at picking your own edible blues;
Freshly picked blueberries can survive in the fridge for 5-10 days, while grocery chain blueberries have already spent days being picked, stored, transported, and stored again before landing in your cart. Leave your fresh picked blueberries unwashed until ready to use to avoid adding moisture that can hasten their demise;
This is your opportunity to celebrate Christmas in July with a blue, blueberry Christmas;
You will support local farming in CT by picking your own blueberries; and
Most importantly, the taste of freshly picked blueberries cannot be beat!
And while you may come blueberry picking for the taste, everyone should stay for their health. Blueberries have earned their place on a list of superfoods, and as far as we can tell, there are no blueberries in Boo Berry “blueberry flavored” cereal, so you’re best served eating real blueberries. Here are just some of the proven health benefits blueberries can provide:
Low in calories - on their own, blueberries will only add about 40 calories per ½ cup;
High in fiber – nature’s broom!
Packed with nutrients including Vitamins C, K, and Manganese to name a few;
Antioxidants – those awesome anthocyanins that give blueberries their blue hue are not just there to stain your clothes! Regular blueberry intake may help your body ward off a scary list of malfunctions.
Speaking of anthocyanins, we do advise against wearing your best white clothes to the fields – consider yourself warned. But while those antioxidant-boosting anthocyanins leave their mark, rest assured that no matter how many blueberries you eat, you will not turn into a blueberry like Violet Beauregarde in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Unlike eating a bunch of carrots which can give you a bit of an orange-yellow skin tone, the anthocyanin in blueberries is not fat-soluble and will not reside in the fat under your skin. While eating blueberries won’t transform you into a beautiful shade of blue, it is possible to harness the color of the blueberry into a homemade dye for tie-dye T-shirts, cloth napkins, etc.
Getting past the fact that blueberries let us eat our most popular favorite color, blueberries are a versatile fruit that, in addition to being delicious just eaten on their own, can also be incorporated into an endless number of yummy recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Top salads, yogurt, granola, and cereal;
Start your oven and bake up some blueberry muffins, cakes, pancakes, scones, tarts, and pies;
Freeze some blueberries in ice pops, ice cream, and sherbet;
Arrange your blueberries in a trifle or parfait;
Blend them in a smoothie;
Make blueberry jam;
Add some other chopped fruits to your blueberries for a fruit salad or fruit salsa (serve with cinnamon chips);
Skewer them with banana slices and strawberries;
Use them as decorations on top of cupcakes, cakes, and waffles;
We look forward to being part of your PYO blueberry adventure, and we thank you for your patronage! Lyman Orchards is a pick your own “agritainment farm” in CT with hundreds of acres dedicated to picking your own farming, golfing, dining, entertainment, and retail. So after you’ve “found your thrill on Blueberry Hill” by picking your own blueberries, we invite you to dine at the 1741 Pub & Grill or grab a sandwich or an ice cream at the Apple Barrel Farm Market. Also, remember Lyman Orchards Golf for your golf day and lessons. There’s something fun for everyone happening at Lyman Orchards - be sure to check out our Events regularly so you don’t miss out!
Pick Your own Farm for Raspberries in CT
If you’re feeling sad about the strawberry picking season coming to an end, then Lyman Orchards has the cure for you: add RASPBERRY PICKING to your PYO (pick your own) resume. The raspberry picking season is short though, so hurry! While raspberries are generally available in CT from early July to mid-August, always remember to call the 24-Hour Hotline for up-to-the-minute crop and field conditions and available varieties: 860-349-6015.
First, a little history:
For 275 years, the Lyman family has been stewards of the land now known as Lyman Orchards, making it the 12th oldest family-owned business in the United States! Pick-your-own (“PYO”) became a part of Lyman Orchards history when the farm opened to consumers in the 1960’s to become a pick your own fruit farm in CT, allowing everyone to become a “farmer for the day” and reap the rewards of the harvest season.
The raspberry plants at Lyman Orchards cover many acres of the scenic farm and offer spectacular views for its pickers. Take a gander at these fabulous rows of raspberry plants!
Botanically speaking, raspberries are not actually berries. Raspberries are an aggregate fruit of “drupelets” with each drupelet consisting of a single seed and a juicy pulp. A typical raspberry has around 100 drupelets (that’s a lot of fruit!)
The drupelets of the raspberry surround a central core. When the raspberry is picked, the cone-shaped core remains on the plant, leaving the raspberry hollowed out.
Those little hairs sticking out of the raspberry are the remnants of the pistils, the female portion of the flower.
A raspberry plant has a perennial root system and biennial stems (canes). Raspberry stems generally grow the first year and produce fruit the second year.
A raspberry plant is taller than a strawberry plant, meaning less bending for picking (yay for backs!) but still perfectly accessible for kids. Each raspberry plant can yield several hundred berries a year. Because the raspberry plants are also wider than a strawberry plant, some of the best raspberries will be hiding inside. The stems can be a bit prickly, so take care when reaching in.
Only choose fully ripe raspberries for picking – they will not ripen after being picked.
Raspberries: the Delicate Delicacy
While mighty in the taste department, the raspberry is a bit weak from a structural standpoint. The empty cupped-shaped interior and drupelet walls will collapse when buried underneath mounds of other raspberries. Carefully spread out your raspberries as soon as you can using trays or other wider storage containers.
Moisture is another enemy, as it can promote an early demise. Never wash the raspberries until ready to use. After gently rinsing, allow them to sit on a towel to dry before using or freezing.
Even the most cautious caretaker of the raspberry will only be able to extend its lifespan to 2-3 days. Plan on using or freezing your freshly picked treasures as soon as you can.
Click here for other tips on raspberry care. After snacking (if you actually have any left) here are some ideas to use your leftover raspberries:
After snacking (if you actually have any left) here are some ideas to use your leftover raspberries:
Stuff a chocolate chip inside a raspberry for a simple treat
Slice a date lengthwise in half, spread some peanut butter on it, and add a raspberry
Top a salad
Blend in a smoothie or stir in lemonade
Add to some yogurt
Put some on your bowl of cereal
Make jam or sorbet
Mix a fruit salsa with raspberries, strawberries, apples, and jam – serve with cinnamon chips
Raspberries are beautiful – showcase them on top of any dessert
Speaking of desserts, July 31 is National Raspberry Cake Day and August 1 is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, so get baking!
Last but not least, totally irrelevant but fun raspberry trivia:
The computer company “Raspberry Pi” is named in response to other computer companies named after fruit (e.g. Apple), and the fruit pie, of course.
“Blowing a raspberry” is a phrase used to denote sticking your tongue out of your mouth and making a noise to sound like, well, you know…
The Golden Raspberry Awards or “Razzies” serve the opposite purpose of the Academy Awards by dishonoring the worst movies with a golden painted plastic raspberry
Raspberry has been used as a color name since 1892, but became part of 80’s pop-culture with Prince’s hit song “Raspberry Beret” (go ahead and sing it to yourself now)
We know you’ll agree that fresh picked raspberries are THE BEST raspberries – come to Lyman Orchards before they’re gone!
P.s. Why not make a day of it? Pick your raspberries after a round of golf at Lyman Golf. Then visit the 1741 Pub and Grill at the Lyman Golf Clubhouse for a meal and the Apple Barrel Farm Market for an ice cream before you leave. Check out our Events page to see what else is happening at Lyman Orchards. And since your freshly picked raspberries will only last a few days, we invite you to come back for more while they’re still available!
Berry Good Tips for Visiting the Pick Your Own Strawberry Farm
Days are getting longer, skies are warming, and summertime is so close we can almost taste the memory of a freshly picked strawberry. Ahhhhh… We are so fortunate to have berry picking in CT. It is seriously one of the best times of year for pick your own farms, so do not let the opportunity to pick your own strawberries pass you by!
But before you jump in the car:
If you can, plan to pick mid-week. While there is usually ample elbow room in the fields, fewer mid-week pickers permit easier access to those berries you crave.
Call the 24Hr Hotline at 860-349-6015 for information on available varieties and conditions.
Click the Events tab to see what else will be happening during your visit.
Check the weather and dress accordingly – we highly recommend closed-toed shoes in the fields regardless of the weather.
Bring sun lotion. A gentle misting bottle helps to perk up the little ones.
Pack a cooler to safely store the fruits of your labor in the car for a few hours while you enjoy the other amenities at Lyman Orchards.
This may sound obvious but choose the red ones. Strawberries do not ripen after picked, so avoid pale strawberries with a green tip.
Sure, it’s fun to find a ginormous red strawberry, but do not pass on the smaller ripe ones; they are often the sweetest!
While picking, pinch the stem so that the green cap remains on the strawberry.
Strawberries are delicate; take care to lay them thoughtfully in your container to avoid damage.
Picking is the perfect time to test out your best strawberry “dad” jokes, for example: What do you call a strawberry smashed on the road? Traffic Jam! Why is the strawberry sad? Because he’s a blue berry! Hee hee…. A quick Internet search for strawberry puns will have your fellow pickers giggling through their work.
Strawberries love having their picture taken! And there are few things prettier than red strawberries against the backdrop of their greens, a blue sky, and your smiling face.
Before or after picking, take time to enjoy the rest of the Lyman Orchards property:
Hungry? Visit one of our delightful dining venues:
The 1741 Pub and Grill at the Lyman Golf Club will satisfy your belly with appetizers, burgers, salads and more, and feed your eyes with beautiful golf course views.
Quicker bites can be found at The Apple Barrel Farm Store which serves up everything from baked goods, breakfast items, salads, made-to-order deli sandwiches, and kid fare. You can even pre-order a picnic lunch to-go.
The Snack Bar at the Golf Center provides a smaller menu of quick bites.
Indulge in a cone from the ice cream window at The Apple Barrel Farm Store. A huge deck with picnic tables overlooking a pond is there for you to enjoy your treat.
The 1741 Pub and Grill can also cool you off with their menu of beers and signature cocktails.
Looking for fun?
Lyman Golf offers 36 holes of championship golf at the Jones and Player courses, as well as a Par 3 course at the Apple 9. The Golf Center boasts a 20,000 square foot practice area, indoor simulators, and award-winning lessons for all skill levels.
Lyman Orchards hosts creative events year-round to suit a variety of interests. Past events have included goat strolls, comedians, cookie decorating, live music, festivals, jazz brunches, trivia and much more. A listing of upcoming events can be found here.
Need to pick up a few things before heading home?
The Apple Barrel Farm Store is stocked with veggies for your strawberry salad, meals to go, pies (of course!), specialty items and many everyday essentials.
Do not wash the strawberries until you’re ready to eat or use them. Moisture can shorten their shelf life. We recommend storing unwashed fresh strawberries in the fridge.
When ready to eat, gently rinse the strawberries with cool water and dry on a towel before taking their tops off.
Strawberries are a tasty treat on their own, and an ideal ingredient in many recipes including smoothies, desserts, popsicles, pancakes, salads, syrups, etc. Click here for a few recipes we love.
If you picked too many strawberries to eat fresh, try freezing or canning to significantly extend their shelf life.
As you revisit your day, consider sharing your pictures – we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram @lymanorchards
Last but not least, congratulate yourself for hand-picking nutritious locally-grown fruit and supporting berry picking in Connecticut. Bravo!
Thank-you for choosing Lyman Orchards for your memory-making pick your own strawberries trip. We can’t wait to see you!
P.s. The picking fun continues with jostaberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches, so plan to visit us all summer long. Lyman Orchards is also home to the spectacular Sunflower Maze in August – you won’t want to miss it!