April 22, 2011

What to pack at pick-your-own farms

If you are a “Liker” on Facebook of CICT, then you know that we went picking strawberries this morning at Rutherford’s in Maryville, TN.  The jam is about to be cooked and jarred—yum!

In case you are planning to make a trip to a pick-your-own farm, I thought you might want to read the tips below.  I posted this last year, and readers talked about it being helpful.  I hope it is to you!

What to pack when going to a pick your own farm:

  • Keep in mind that many may not have restrooms or port-a-potties.  Go to the restroom before you leave.  If you have a child who is potty training, you might want to bring a small potty with you.  Put it in a garbage bag so that your car doesn’t get soiled.  If you have a weak bladder, you might want to consider wearing a depend or thick maxi.  Bring a few extra diapers for the infants or babies and an extra change of clothes in case you have a blow out.  Bring tissues or toilet paper, just in case.  Always bring wipes, see below.
  • Wear boots.  Bring a bag to put your boots in when you return to your car and bring a change of shoes.  Do this for the whole family.  You never know what you’ll come across.  Boots better protect you from thistle and thorns, snakes, manure, and muck.  Decide for yourself if you want to wear long pants or not.  I’ve done both.  If I don’t know the farm, though, I’m more apt to wear pants the first time to protect my legs.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.  Wear a bandana or sunbonnet.  Wear good quality sunshades—when you are older and do not have macular degeneration, your eyes will thank you for this step.  (Yes, I know that sunlight isn’t the only cause of macular degeneration, but every single eye doctor and geriatrician I’ve ever spoken with about the subject recommends the use of sunglasses.)  Use sunscreen. 
  • Hydrate.  It is amazing how hot your body can get before you realize it.  The methodical nature of picking fruits and vegetables can trick you into not realizing how much time has passed.  Keep in mind that children, pregnant and nursing women, and older adults are especially susceptible to heat stroke.  Bring water and drink it.
  • I’m a big fan of baby wipes.  If you make your own or use eco-friendly ones, all the better!  (I’ll confess, I do not.)  Your hands will most likely be sticky after picking, and you’ll want something to wipe all of the strawberry stains off of your child’s face before embarking for the ride home.
  • Bring a basic first aid kit, one that has something for stings and scrapes.  If you have an allergy to bees, bring an epi-pen if your allergy deems that necessary.
  • Bring cash.  Many places will ONLY take cash.  Many are on the honor system.
  • Bring your honor with you.  See above.  DON’T you dare drive off without paying!
  • Bring buckets, baskets or something to store the fruit/veggies.  Some places offer buckets, others don’t. 
  • Bring some newspaper, a tarp, or plastic bags to put down under the buckets.  Strawberries tend to run juice, and you don’t want that in your car.
  • Bring the camera…if you want.
  • If your skin is very sensitive, bring gloves and wear long sleeves to help prevent rashes.
  • Bring your sense of awareness.  Many times you will be out on a farm with no one in sight.  Be aware of who and what is around you.  This can be as simple as watching out for stinging nettle or poison ivy or as serious as looking out for a black bear.
  • Bring your cell phone.
  • Bring some snacks.  Yeah, I know you’re picking fruits or veggies.  Bring something like a granola bar just in case you or your kids get the munchies.
  • Bring your kids.  Let them experience the joy of a very fresh peach or strawberry.  They will remember those outings for years.  Make something with your harvest, gorge on the bounty.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we, our children included, felt the fullness and enjoyment of a belly filled with strawberries instead of Cheetos???

Have fun and make some memories! 

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