One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables available. Rather than head to a big box store; U-Pick farms are the places to be. Because picking is all outdoors, it’s a family activity that is perfect while adhering to social distancing. Pick your way through the Midwest’s best spots for the freshest, homegrown berries, veggies, and other fruits at the following farms.
- Address: 3709 Miller Road, McHenry
- Distance from Chicago: 59.3 miles
This sprawling farm located in McHenry County offers 17 acres of strawberries ripe for the picking! The farm opens June 13 for market and expects to open for you-pick service in mid-June. Pricing varies based on the size of the basket, from $5 for a 1-quart to $13 for a 4-quart. Stade’s bakery and shop includes pies and jams. Check the farm’s Facebook page before you go for updates and the latest offerings.
- Address: 10214 W. Algonquin Road, Huntley
- Distance from Chicago: 52 miles
Tom’s is a family-owned farm that has been open for more than 40 years! Located in Huntley, Tom’s offers a bakery, farm market and garden center for delicious treats, plants and more. Masks and social distancing are required inside the market and greenhouse. Plans to reopen the You-Pick strawberry fields is expected in late June, and pickers are asked to monitor the farm’s website for extended social distancing guidelines and hours. Takeout and curbside pickup is available for lunch at Cheryl’s Café. The menu offers everything from yummy coffee drinks from their espresso bar to breakfast fare, paninis and more! The gift shop and garden center offer additional perks for shoppers.
- Address: 18110 Kishwaukee Valley Rd, Woodstock
- Distance from Chicago: 62 miles
Head out to Woodstock for prime picking at McCann’s, another farm that has been serving Illinois families for 36 years! McCann’s offers three acres of blueberries. Blueberry season begins in July and continues through mid-August. Changes due to coronavirus concerns are expected and will be updated later this summer on the farm’s website.
- Address: 14000 75th St., Bristol, Wis.
- Distance from Chicago: 60 miles
Situated just over the Wisconsin border the farm’s slogan is, “The Berry Best Place to Be!” The cash-only farm has been growing strawberries for more than 70 years, and also offers raspberries (in August). Masks will be expected around others not in your home, but not required in the field. There will be ropes to keep guests away from pre-picked strawberries. Be sure to visit regularly — frequent pickers are rewarded with a .50 cent discount when they reuse their baskets, and if you pick five baskets, the sixth is free!
- Address: 5911 W. 50 South, LaPorte, Ind.
- Distance from Chicago: 60 miles
Get the full experience, thanks to a focus on farming, family, and community at this nearly 200-year-old family business. U-Pick strawberry prices range from $2.15-$2.45 per pound based on bulk amount. U-Pick options range from blueberries to black raspberries (in July) to tomatoes. Curbside pickup is available for anyone looking for fresh produce, and the first hour of picking time each day is reserved for guests 60 years and older.
- Address: 8960 East Ridge Road, Hobart, Ind.
- Distance from Chicago: 40 miles
Living up to the motto, “Quality Produce, Quality Service Since 1940,” Johnson’s Farm Produce has been serving the northwest Indiana region with care and quality. The season kicks off June 13 for picking in the fields. Patrons are encouraged to wear masks and remain socially distant in areas where there are other customers. Weekend festivals will run from June through October to highlight the freshest produce available.
- Address: 9957 North Frontage Road, Michigan City, Ind.
- Distance from Chicago: 70 miles
This farm dates back to 1942 where some of the original blueberry bushes still thrive and produce fruit. This is a family business that ended up with the farm on a whim because of their love for the juiciest berries around. The newest owners have been in business for 20 years strong and their main focal point is the U-Pick. Aside from the best berries around, they also sell blueberry blossom honey, blueberry jam and blueberry syrup.
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.
This story originally published June 13, 2019. It has been updated with the most recent information.