Make summer a little sweeter by picking your way through Chicago’s best spots for homegrown berries and other fruits and veggies. Scroll down for u-picks you can’t miss!Less
What was once a small farmstand over 40 years ago is now an expansive farm 50 miles northwest of Chicago and offers plant seedlings to hanging baskets and a bakery featuring freshly baked seasonal fruit pies and cakes, cookies, scones and homemade breads. Pickers will only find strawberries in the U-Pick fields, but the fresh market offers a selection of homegrown produce, including corn, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.
Five generations of family have been running this farm that had a typical Midwestern start of raising hogs, sheep and chicken and producing dairy, oats and hay. Today their focus is on quality fruit, good customer service and offering families memorable, wholesome fun. Red raspberries and strawberries make up the bulk of their U-Pick business, but they also have rhubarbs, black raspberries, cherries, gold raspberries and homemade jams. There is no admission and parking is free.
The growing season begins in May with traditional green and exotic purple asparagus at this seven-acre farm 70 miles southwest of Chicago. Fresh, sweet strawberries make up their U-Pick business, and they will hopefully be reintroducing their raspberries in the future. There is no entrance fee for picking and supplies are provided.
Stade’s is famous for their popular Shades of Autumn festival, a fall blitz featuring live music, hayrides, a petting zoo and more. Leading up to the festival, you can visit for U-Pick strawberries beginning in mid-June, raspberries in July, tomatoes and a variety of summer veggies in starting in July and pumpkins in September and October. Also available at the onsite market is homegrown asparagus, rhubarb, spinach, radishes and lettuce, as well as their privately harvested local honey.
Asparagus launches the six-month u-pick season and pumpkins and fall squash close it down, with deliciously sweet strawberries, onions, spinach, rhubarb, lettuce, kale, radishes, garlic, peas and green beans available at different times in between. Have your own box or bag for picking weighed at the farm stand before you get started because you pay for produce by the pound.