Summer isn’t summer without spending at least an hour berry picking.
And, as I usually drag my kids with me, an hour is about all I can get! (But, with three kids, an hour is about all we need.)
When we lived in Mexico, we spent almost every July in Ft. Wayne, just in time for blueberry season at Cedar Creek Produce in Leo. Picking blueberries was usually one of the first things we did when we arrived in the midwest, and it became a tradition. So when we moved to Toledo, I needed to find a new go-to fruit farm.
Now, after three summers here, I have a hands-down favorite: Johnston Fruit Farms. To be honest, I haven’t been anywhere else, except MacQueen’s. But we don’t need to try anywhere else. Johnston’s has everything I want–and then some!
We first went for apple-picking season, as Johnston’s Fruit Farm is primarily an apple orchard. The following summer, I missed blueberry-picking season, but they stock 10-pound boxes of blueberries in a refrigerator, and I’ve been buying 40 pounds of those for the last three years and freezing them.
This year, we finally made it to pick some blueberries and raspberries. The blueberry bushes are a three-mile drive from the storefront, but the raspberries are on the main farm–just a nice, quarter mile walk from the store.
Beyond picking apples, pumpkins, blueberries, and raspberries, they also have flowers for picking ($12 for a mason jar full), and lots of seasonal produce, ceramics, locally-woven rag rugs, beef sticks, maple syrup, popcorn, and the best cake doughnuts in the area.
When we’re not going for produce (or it’s very early or late in the season and they don’t have much), we often buy a half-dozen doughnuts and then take a nice, long hike through Oak Openings Metropark. Or we just eat the doughnuts while enjoying the lake.
They really are the best doughnuts.
They’re so good, I can’t even get a picture of them!
Or, we eat our doughnuts on the picnic tables to the side of their little petting zoo, which houses chickens, a miniature donkey, a miniature pony, and two pygmy goats. My kids could (and have) spent hours communing with these animals. And when they need a break from the animals, there’s an out-of-comission old tractor to pretend to drive.
All in all, I’m thrilled that we don’t have to drive all the way to NE Indiana anymore for the experience of picking berries (although Cedar Creek Produce will always hold a special place in my heart), and I’m looking forward to heading back in a few weeks to pick some apples
I might just try making apple butter this fall.
Check in with Johnston Fruit Farms’ facebook page for updates on what is available for U-pick. Or give them a call at 419-826-1453. They’re one mile west of Swanton, OH on Hwy 2 (Airport Highway).