Editor’s Note: These locations, hours of operation, and prices reflect June 2015, and have not been updated to reflect changes in 2016.
By Kelly Youngblood
Farmer’s markets in the Champaign-Urbana area are in full swing, offering many opportunities to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables.
But if you’d like to be the first one to pluck some fresh produce straight from the farm — and you’re looking for a fun family outing — then check out one of the u-pick farms in the area.
We have tried to get in contact with each farm owner to determine hours and availability for the season so we have the most up-to-date information to share with you. But please call ahead and check before you go; crop availability depends on several different factors including the weather.
Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, located right here in Champaign, has announced as of July 22, U-Pick Peach Season has begun. The farm is open for U-Pick on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-6 p.m. They provide you with everything you need to pick. Cost is $2/lb. “They are sweet and juicy! Come & get ’em!” We’re not sure how long the peaches will be available. Check out the Prairie Fruits website for availability or check out the weekly open house held every Wednesday to find out more.
Mulberry Lane Farm in Loda has mulberries, strawberries, black raspberries, as well as red currants and then green beans. Mulberry Lane Farm is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
Braffet Berry Farm in Carlock is famous in the area for its strawberry u-pick season. It’s normally open every day from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. but with the large amount of rain we’ve had lately, the owners are asking people to check their Facebook page or website daily for updates on openings.
Okaw Valley Orchard in Sullivan is a family-run apple orchard that also offers peaches and pears. A bakery, retail store, cider press and playground are also on site. According to its Facebook page, the orchard is open every day but call ahead to make sure before making the trip.
Curtis Orchard is the place to be in the fall where you can pick apples and pumpkins until your baskets and wagons are too full to haul. Open rain or shine from July 20- Dec. 20, it’s a local favorite where families can enjoy fun kids activities, a bakery, country store and the Flying Monkey Café, which is open for lunch every day from Aug. 16-Nov. 23.
The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur offers an impressive u-pick pumpkin patch that includes 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds galore. Along with mazes, mums, animals, and more, you can easily carve out an entire day at this local gem. Open Sept. 12-Oct. 31 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Did we miss your favorite u-pick place? Let us know in the comments!