By Stacey Fox – Everyone has special memories of their childhood, and parents often look for ways to create similar experiences for their own children.
When I was a little girl, every June, my dad went strawberry picking, often times taking me along. He would come home with pounds and pounds of berries which we would fill the sinks with, rinse, cap, eat, and sort for homemade jelly.
So just two weeks ago, as word got out that blueberries were starting to ripen, my 9-year-old daughter Chloe and I headed up to Boyer’s Nurseries & Orchards to do a little picking. I had missed the opportunity to pick strawberries earlier this summer, so I was excited to get out picking for the first time in several years.
While I did not grow up on a farm, my grandfather was a farmer and the backyard of my childhood home bordered a corn field, so I grew up understanding the importance of farming. I am now active in our local farmers’ market association, and it’s important to me that my daughter understands the importance of farming and that what we eat can come right from our friends and neighbors.
Boyer’s, like so many of our farms in the Gettysburg area, is amazing – sprawling acreage of berry fields, orchards, ponds, rolling hills, old barns and new barns, and absolute beauty. If you haven’t seen the Adams County countryside, then you really haven’t experienced Gettysburg.
The farm is just a short, 15-minute drive north of Gettysburg, nestled in the rolling hills to the west of Arendtsville, Pa. – the home of the National Apple Harvest Festival.
We started at the market where farm workers sorted newly-picked cherries. With hands stained purple, Emma Lower – a fifth-generation farmer at Boyer’s – welcomed us to the farm, handed us our buckets, and led us down the road a short way to the blueberry patch.
Boyer’s has two blueberry patches, this one about three acres and home to a dozen varieties of blueberries – a fact that fascinated me. I thought blueberries were blueberries. Period.
After showing Chloe the best berries to pick, we got started. We had a ton of fun picking berries, tasting berries, talking about coming back to pick cherries, and tasting more berries. We talked about how berries grow from blossoms and both enjoyed the time we spent together that day.
When we had picked as many blueberries as a 9-year-old can pick, we headed back to the market and purchased some already-picked sweet cherries alongside our blueberries.
Before leaving, we jumped back across the street to explore Boyer’s new evergreen hedge maze. It’s a great complement to picking your own berries, and Boyer’s encourages families to come out, enjoy the farm and make a day out of it – even picnic there.
Blueberries are just part of the pick-your-own experience in Adams County. Throughout the region, visitors and locals alike can pick strawberries, cherries, apples, pumpkins and trees – Christmas trees, that is. And Boyer’s is just one of the farms that open their fields for visitors to pick. Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm & Market in Biglerville offers pick-your-own blueberries and apples as well.
The Gettysburg region is full of incredible experiences beyond the Civil War history. The countryside is dotted with ways to spend meaningful time with your family and friends and create memories.
As I plucked one ripe blueberry after another, I was reminded of how lucky I was to have these opportunities so close to home. Next time, Chloe and I will bring along my husband … maybe when the cherries are ready.
About the author
A native of Adams County, Pa., Stacey now lives in East Berlin just north of Gettysburg. After spending years traveling throughout the United States, she believes she lives in the most beautiful place in the country. Her favorite part of living here is the natural beauty of the landscape – the rolling hills, orchards, streams, wooded areas and the friendly people. She spends her time with her husband, Brian and 9-year-old daughter, Chloe, and yellow lab, Dreamer. Stacey is expecting her second child this Christmas.