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Old 08-02-2005, 04:37 AM   #1
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Purchasing Farm Fresh Berries

HI guys, I am new to the forum, and i have some questions.

First of all I am tired of paying $4-5 dollars for berries such as: blueberries/blackberries/raspberries, that come in a small plastic container with fungus growing on it, and tasting extremely bland.

I am sure you guys know that purchasing fruit from your grocery store versus eating fruit fresh off the farm is a difference between night and day. Since I live in the chicago land area, does anyone know where I can purchase farm fresh fruit in the chicago markets? I tried the whole organic food store right next to me, but those just taste slightly better than the traditional grocery store berries. THey still dont have that authentic fresh aroma smell and flavor.

I usually go to a place called JAMBA JUICE, and i am so addicted to that place! One of my favorite drinks has blueberries in it. THey say that they freeze dry it right after picking to lock in the freshness. I went to online websites to see if i could purchase berries that have been freeze dried. I did purchase them, but the price is so ridiculously high! I had to pay 60 dollars just to get 5 pounds of blueberries, and the taste was still not close to Jamba Juice's berries.

I was wondering does anyone know how i can purchase farm fresh berries in the chicago land area? or anyother way for a lot cheaper price? Thanks you guys. I appreicate your help!

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Old 08-02-2005, 07:33 AM   #2
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I buy fresh berries from folks around the area who grow them and sell. It's you pick or we pick. Maybe you have some people around your area who grow berries and can purchase them. They usually advertise in the local paper.Or word of mouth.
Years ago we use to go to Canada to pick blueberries, they were so big and juicy.
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Old 08-02-2005, 09:51 AM   #3
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Here's a site I found googling for 'farmer's markets + Chicago' -

http://www.suntimes.com/special_sect...r/markets.html

I wouldn't necessarily expect to find 'cheap' at the farmer's markets. But you will get better tasting products! You might try going at the end of day; I've gotten great deals because they'd rather sell cheap than have to schlep it all back with them!

I do freeze fresh blueberries, and strawberries - just lay them out flat on a cookie sheet, put in the freezer; then when frozen, put them in ziplocks to store.

Happy hunting!
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Old 08-02-2005, 09:57 AM   #4
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Thumpershere is right! Find a blueberry farm and pick to your heart's content!

The best method of freezing blueberries is to put them in to a freezer-safe container, so they don't get squished. (You can pack a lot in there!) Also, they can be frozen for up to a year, provided you don't wash them first. (They have a natural waxy coating on them that keeps them fresh in the freezer)

Here's a farm in your area:
http://www.plowcreek.org/farm/blueberry-photos.htm
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:50 PM   #5
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What area of chicago area are you from??

I'm from Northwest Indiana originally, and if it's not too much of a drive for you, I would really reccomend making a drive into "the region" for you fresh berries. There are multiple raspberry and strawberry farms, and tons and tons of blueberry and apple farms. There isn't any better fresh fruit to be found. Most of the farms will pick a lot of fruit early in the morning, and sell it by the pound if you don't want to pick your own. I always pick my own, however, b/c I can pick the best fruits and berries, and get as much as i want, for a better price.

I would you really only need to make one trip every year or two, because you can freeze all of your berries. We took the whole family out to pick blueberries one year, and came home with about 20 lbs. of them, which lasted a little over 2 years. Just make sure to rinse, then dry thoroughly before freezing.
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:24 PM   #6
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One little aside here once you have found the market or vendor you like. Ask what cultivar each of the fruits is. Strawberries for example have dozens of different cultivars and the berries can vary from huge and tasteless to small and exceptionally sweet. The difference betwen cultivars can be incredible.

A little net research via sites that sell different plants can identify the cultivars that are designed for long train or airfreight journeys. These will look great and usually be quite large but they will be nowhere near as sweet and tasty as other cultivars that don't travel well.

If the vendor doesn't know or refuses to devulge the cultivar then I walk away. If they offer you a sample before you buy then you can make an informed decision.
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