As a New Englander, I have an appreciation for all four seasons and their differences. We get lots of snow and cold, plenty of sunshine and high temps, flowers and foliage – you name it. However, as the years have passed and I’ve reached the ripe, old age of 34, summer has clearly become my favorite. Sure, summer can be a pain: I have to spend two hours a week cutting the grass, gasoline tends to cost more, and my poorly insulated house occasionally reaches internal temps in the high 80s. But, I’ll tell you something else – there’s no snow to shovel, my oil bill drops from its winter high of a few hundred a month to about $5 a month, and the local fruit is fresh and cheap!
My wife and I have always really enjoyed “PYO” (Pick Your Own) regardless of what it is. We’ve picked apples and pumpkins in the fall, and in addition to getting the produce right from the source at a fraction of supermarket prices, it’s just a fun experience! Since having children, we’ve made picking fruit into a fairly regular family outing, and we now pick more and more each year – blueberries, raspberries, pears, and peaches – and we’re making more memories each time.
On Tuesday, the whole family was in desperate need of a change of scenery. We’d been hanging around the house for a full week while the kids battled high fevers and my wife and I attempted to avoid the humidity and high temps pushing 100 degrees. We headed off that morning to Middlefield, Connecticut to pay a visit to the kind folks at Lyman Orchards.
Lyman Orchards, set on an idyllic 1,100 acres in central Connecticut, has been family owned and operated since 1741. I’m guessing that they’re doing something right to remain in business for 270 years. On this particular visit, we could pick our own peaches, blueberries, and jostaberries. We missed strawberry season by a week, as we seem to have the tendency to do.
The entire family had enough fun that no one complained about the 90 degree, humid day. Even our 22 month old son got into picking blueberries – although he had the tendency to immediately eat what he picked. My older daughter, by far the most avid peach eater in the family, really enjoyed herself and developed a good, selective eye for fruit worthy to bring home. At one point, she even stood on my shoulders to reach “the perfect peach” which was nearly ten feet off the ground.
After a fun two hours, we headed back home with 13 pounds of peaches and five pounds of blueberries and a new bunch of memories. Thanks to Amy however, the best was still to come, as she combined some peaches and blueberries with frozen yogurt and store bought strawberries and bananas and created the greatest, freshest fruit smoothies ever. Seriously, what a day!
Regardless of where you live, I encourage you to scout out the closest PYO orchards. The kids (and yes, you) will have a blast for a really reasonable amount of money. You’ll have numerous photo ops while getting outside and enjoying some fresh air. And how do I know the kids really enjoyed themselves? For a full two hours, my wife and I didn’t hear, “I’m bored,” or, “Can I play with the iPad now?”
*I spent the day with my family at Lyman Orchards and was not compensated for this post. I just wanted to share my fun family outing with the Trippin’ with Tara readers!