Louisiana is known for a lot of things: its Cajun personality and spicy jambalaya, swamps and gators, moss-covered trees and wrought iron architecture, nightlife in New Orleans, and heart-wrenching jazz music. Thanks to its mild temperatures and moist soil, farming across the state also comes easy and plentiful, making it one great state to find a Pick-Your-Own farm. And, like everything in Louisiana, the picking is fun. Check out these 6 picking spots.
1. Berry Sweet Orchards
At this farm, there’s no such thing as pre-picked. When you visit, you do all the work. Which happens to also be all the fun. A little north of Baton Rouge, Berry Sweet Orchards was opened in 1990 by owners Cliff and Susan Muller. In addition to being Louisiana’s first state-certified, organic pick-your-own blueberry farm, they also offer pick-your-own heirloom tomatoes, squash and melons. Like on any pick-your-own farm, picking season can vary. This year, the blueberries under-produced and the season is over. Plan on a visit next year, though.
Cost: $2 per pound for blueberries. Other produce prices vary.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Information: (225) 683-1001; www.berrysweetorchards.com
2. Louisiana Herbs
Chives, marigold, basil, oregano, rosemary and mint. When it comes to herbs, this place is the Louisiana mecca. Located on the Historic Breston Plantation, you can get any kind of herb you want at this farm. Buy plants here, and take them home to plant your own garden, or hire this company to install an herb garden for you.
Cost: Herbs vary in price.
Hours: Call for hours.
Information: (318) 450-2100; www.louisianaherbs.com
3. Landry-Poche Farms
The strawberry rules at this family farm. It was established in 1926 by Santos Bazile, with the idea that every family member participates in running the farm. Today it’s still a family business where you can go pick strawberries or take a group of students for a field trip. When strawberries aren’t in season, go for cucumbers, blueberries, tomatoes and other produce. It’s also home to the 2013 Strawberry Festival King, making it produce royalty.
Cost: $15 per bucket of strawberries
Hours: March thru May, depending on the harvest. The farm is also open other times of the year for field trips, however, so call for details.
Information: (225) 294-2631; landrypochefarms.weebly.com
4. Blue Harvest Farms
The key at this farm? No chemicals. Ever. Blue Harvest Farms is run by a natural approach to pest and weed control. The focus is to maintain the beauty of the land as well as the quality and quantity of fruit, while using absolutely no chemicals. Pick your own organic blueberries and learn more about natural farming. This year they had their biggest crop ever - with a robust six weeks of picking. Keep it on your list for next year and start checking schedules at the end of May.
5. Ridemore Ranch & Berry Farm
The main draw at this modest family farm is the berry picking. But, there’s also horseback riding for kids, a picnic area, as well as other various produce for sale depending on the time of year and the harvest.
Cost: $3 per pound for blueberries and $3.50 per pound for blackberries.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Tuesdays. Call for other hours, including times on Sundays
Information: (985) 875-1965 or www.ridemorefarm.com
6. Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin & Strawberry Patch
This is no ordinary Pick-Your-Own farm. It’s more like an amusement park. Activities include: zip lining, face painting, duck racing, running through a maze, milking cows, playing horseshoes, and learning about how pumpkins grow. Oh, and of course you can pick your own pumpkin! Bring a picnic lunch and plan on staying for awhile, as the kids go crazy for this fall farm.
Cost: Adults, free; children, $7 each. Birthday Parties: $100 (up to 10 children)
Hours: September 23-November 8. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Information: (225) 567-3493; www.thfarms.com
This is one of five states featured in our series about some of the best you-pick farms in the South. Click on a state below to read about other great Southern pick-your-own farms:
Do you have a favorite pick-your-own farm that isn't on our list? Tell us about it in the comments below.
All photos courtesy of Mrs.Heather's Pumpkin & Strawberry Patch Farm.