Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Charleston Currents Feature - June 2014

Picking berries and making jam
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

JUNE 16, 2014 -- One of my boys' long-standing favorite spring/summer activities is picking berries and making jam.
There's something about the whole process of picking and chopping while chatting all the while that makes this an annual challenge to revisit with great expectation -- how many pounds of berries can we pick this year? Continuing the activity at home with the process of jam and preserves making teaches lessons in preserving foods from farm to table. This makes for a rich reward when you sit at your dinner table in the middle of winter eating strawberry jam on ice cream, evoking memories from that year's picks.
From strawberries to blueberries and blackberries, gather some friends and all your strength and hit the fields to preserve the taste of summer for the rest of the year. Here are a few of our favorite tried and true farms for U-pick berries:
Boone Hall Farm U-Pick: Great for strawberries, blackberries , and blueberries. The hours officially are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but they are tending to say 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. now that it is hot in the fields. Enter the site off U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant where you see the tents. Free parking; no entry fee. Directions.
Berries and produce are all priced per pound. Baskets and buckets are provided. Hand sanitizer and water station also are provided for washing up.
  • TIP: If you want to pick all three berries, start with the strawberries and then move to the front field for the blackberries. Then leave your berries at the tent while you drive to the blueberries down the dirt path. The blueberries are the easiest and quickest to pick, so keep an eye on your total weight as it can quickly add up.
  • RECIPE: Black and Blue crumble.
Black River Berries: To get a feel for how prolific the fields are here, check out this post on Black River Berries. Located in Salters about an hour north of Charleston, this roadside farm is my favorite for strawberries. You must take cash with you (pricing depicted on the board on the linked post) and you can keep the buckets they provide. Cooper's Country Store just down the road is a must-see with picnic tables, cold drinks and an ATM for cash if you decide to pick more than you planned for initially!
Ambrose Family Farm: This farm is our pick for a quiet, remote spot for peaceful picking. Be sure to check out the preserves and pickled vegetables at the point of check out. Located on Wadmalaw Island, use the following information from the farm to guide you to this perfect pick for blueberries and blackberries: 2349 Black Pond Lane, Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487. Some GPS systems do not recognize this address. (If yours does not recognize Black Pond Lane, use Selkirk Plantation Road, Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487.)
It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. Call before visiting on Sundays because it's generally closed on most Sundays. Prices: $2.50 per pound for pick-your-own strawberries.

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