Where to find blueberry picking near Champaign-Urbana
Want to find some summer family fun at blueberry farms in Central Illinois? We can help.
They say that blueberries are a super food, packed with nutrients to keep our brains healthy and bodies happy. Champaign-Urbana blueberry fans will be pleased to discover several places within roughly an hour’s drive to pick your own blueberries. (If you’re looking for strawberry picking resources, here is our story on Where to Pick Strawberries Around Champaign-Urbana; there is some overlap in the two articles.)
In Central Illinois, blueberry season generally starts around mid-June and goes through mid-July – if we’re lucky. This year, most places will be open by the end of June.
To be sure that there are blueberries ripe for the picking, we recommend that you call ahead before you go to any farm (some also put up information on their Facebook pages and/or websites). Some farms have limited quantities, and the season can be short.
And don’t forget to bring a mask. Some farms won’t allow picking without one.
Oh, and a few other tips:
1) Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen; sunglasses and hats are also helpful. Remember, there is no shade while berry picking.
2) Where there is fruit there is often bugs. Go as early as possible; be prepared to do bug repellent.
3) In years past, we’ve recommended that you bring cash; that may not be the case in 2020. Be prepared to pay cash or credit.
4) Watch the weather. You don’t want to be picking with any threats of lightning.
WARNING: The season is short, so if you blink you might miss it.
U Pick Blueberry Locations Near Champaign-Urbana (organized by distance)
Goosecreek Blueberries, Monticello
Goosecreek Blueberries is predicting it will have ripe blueberries in early July. Watch its Facebook page for info.
Location: About 20-25 minutes from Champaign-Urbana, depending on where you live. Northwest of Monticello (map). Directions available on the Facebook page, too.
Notes: Picking and paying is on the honor system. Prices for U Pick Blueberries are $3 per pound. Buckets and take home bags are provided. There is a very short window for picking blueberries, see our review here.
Phone: People are advised to call before coming out to u pick, to check on picking conditions. 217- 519-0531
[Editor’s note: From Facebook 6/28/2020, “We’ve decided to close to the public for the next 2 seasons to work on bird & frost control & increasing production.”]
Prairie Hill Blueberry Farm, Bethany
Five varieties for early, mid, and late fruit from mid June through early August. According to the website, tentative opening date is June 19.
In 2020, prices for U Pick Blueberries are $4.00 per pound, Pre-Pick berries are $5.00 per pound (phone orders only)
Location: Bethany, Illinois – west of Arthur. (1 hour, 15 minutes from Southwest Champaign)
Notes: Closed on Sundays; Open daily Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; evening hours by appointment only. Facebook page here.
Jeffries Orchard, Springfield
Our family went to Jeffries Orchard in Springfield recently and you can read all about this no-frills experience on the website. “Pick-your-own blueberries are next, around the last week of June. Please check back, as our website will be updated soon with all the blueberry details.”
They have a roadside stand and sell produce all summer long.
Location: A great advantage for this place: it is close to Springfield and therefore close to other attractions, food, etc. About 75 minutes from southwest Champaign.
Notes: Open 7 days a week. Takes credit cards. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page.
Braffet Berry Farm, Carlock
The blueberry season at Braffet generally starts in late June.
Location: Carlock, Illinois, which is northwest of Bloomington-Normal (on the way to Peoria). 1 hour, 5 minutes from Southwest Champaign. Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/sbLUZzVqcpC2
Notes: Open 7 days a week during picking season. Takes cash, check, Venmo. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page and Twitter.
Just Berries, Stewardson
A popular place for strawberry picking, Just Berries will open for blueberry picking season in late June. “Blueberry season is usually around the end of June to the first week in July. More updates will follow as the blueberry season gets closer.”
Location: Stewardson, Illinois, about 75 minutes from southwest Champaign, straight south between Mattoon and Effingham.
Notes: Posts regular updates on its Facebook page.