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 a lot of 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.
1) Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen; sunglasses and hats are also helpful. Remember, there is no shade while berry picking. As for shoes, rain boots are a good option – or something else that you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy.
2) Where there is fruit there is often bugs. Go early as possible; be prepared to do sunscreen and bug repellent.
3) In past years, we recommended that you bring cash to pay. That’s still good advice, but more and more places have options for credit.
4) Watch the weather. You don’t want to be picking with any threats of lightning.
5) BYOB – bring your own buckets. Sometimes that is required, every patch has different rules.
6) Remember, berry season is short!
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 a relatively new blueberry farm. Because of concerns about production, it is limiting visitors to the farm this year. From a recent Facebook post: “We’re trying something new this year to make sure we can have as many as we can come out & pick the berries they want. If you’d like to receive an email when berries are ready, please send an email to: Landreth755@gmail.com & I’ll add you to our list. We’ll start at the top of the list & invite as many as we can!”
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: There is a very short window for picking blueberries, see our review here.
Phone:Watch its Facebook page for info.
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 2021, 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 a few years ago and you can read all about this no-frills experience on the website. A recent update to the Jeffries Orchard Facebook page estimates that the blueberries will be ready in late June through early July.
They have a roadside stand and sell produce most of the summer.
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. “Blueberries have not started to turn yet as the season usually starts around the end of June to the first week in July. Watch for updates as it 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.
Ditzler Orchard, Rosedale, Indiana
Blueberries will be available around June 21, according to a recent Facebook post.
Location: About 90 minutes from Champaign-Urbana. This orchard is near the sunflower maze not far from Paris.
Notes: Open 7 days a week during picking season. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page.Also has blueberries and blackberries later in the season, and sweet cherries too.
Make it a day trip: If you go to Rosedale, check out the children’s museum in Terre Haute.
Directions: On their website.