After an eight-year hiatus, I figured it was time to get my act together and start posting something before my writing skills atrophied all together.
This summer, at long last having finished any type of schooling for the next few years, I finally managed to have the time to do a bit of traveling around the area where I live and outside the country. Berry picking has been one of those activities that I’ve wanted to do since I moved to Kingston. I had plans to set out to the Picton area where I had spotted some fruit farms a couple of years ago but the right summer just seemed to never come along. I had not thought to consider that some fruit farms might be nearby (which, in hindsight, makes perfect sense).
Fruition Berry Farm is a farm that has fruit and vegetable-picking and is open in the summer to fall. It is located in the Kingston area just north of the 401. We went on a Sunday in July, and it seemed to be open daily in the mornings from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, depending on weather and fruit conditions. The farm’s website has a helpful list of what fruit or vegetable would be available for picking on which month, as well as when or whether the farm would be open. Before going, you should check the night before and the day of to make sure the farm will be open when you get there.
The farm is approximately 20 minutes from downtown Kingston if you travel east on the 401 and then exit north on Highway 15. It isn’t too difficult to find, providing you don’t blow past the country road where the farm is on. The sign for the farm itself is a little hard to see, but the staff put a large sign on the road with the fruit in season and an arrow towards the entrance of the parking lot. This entrance is pretty close to the intersection between the small country road the farm is on and Highway 15 so you won’t miss it if you’re going slow. There is ample parking on grass in front of the fields.
At the entrance to the fields, the helpful and friendly farm staff have a counter set up where you can choose your basket size. There were three sizes available for us – 1 litre for $4.25, 1 pint for $3.00 and 1 quart for $4.50. K and I chose two quart-sized baskets so we could each have the pleasure of picking raspberries at our own pace. After you’ve picked your basket size, one of the staff will lead you to a specific row of raspberries that you can pick from.
The farm is relatively large and the rows are spacious so you won’t be bumping shoulders into anyone as you pick your way down your row. Not having picked raspberries before, I had to receive instructions from K about what was ripe: aside from a rich red colour, raspberries ready to be picked are soft and can be picked from the branches with almost no tugging. Raspberries that are extremely ripe will simply fall off as soon as your fingers graze them. Don’t just look at the colour! I was definitely fooled a few times. If you find that you need to pluck for the raspberry to come off, it’s not ripe enough. Just hold on with your fingers and pull very gently. It should slide off its core like a sleeve, leaving the core still attached to the plant.
I didn’t think we needed more than an hour to pick our two baskets worth, so we arrived shortly before 11:00 am. After about 45 minutes, both of us had our baskets completely full with delicious-looking raspberries. They look so good we’re probably just going to eat them as is.
Once you’re done, you head back to the counter at the entrance to pay. No worries if you don’t have cash because the farm staff have two debit machines (they don’t accept credit cards).
All in all, it was a good summertime experience. The farm seems to be well-tended and managed, and the staff are friendly. I would go again in the later months for their other vegetables.
Fruition Berry Farm
Phone: (613) 548-3378
Hours: Check website (possibly daily from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Cost: Check website for each fruit/vegetable
Travel: 20 minutes by car from downtown Kingston
Time: Reserve 45 min to 1 hour for a quart-sized basket