BLACKSBURG, Va. – Blueberry season is more than just buying local berries at your farmer’s market or grocery store. In Blacksburg, you can throw on a sun hat, grab a bucket and pick your own berries straight from the tree at 3 Birds Berry Farm.
The u-pick farm is now open for its 11th season. Farm hours depend on the crop so you have to check on Facebook.
Last year was a challenge for 3 Birds Berry Farm. They lost 40% of their berries to a freeze Mother’s Day weekend and because there was bigger interest in outdoor activities during the pandemic they saw an influx in visitors.
Farm manager Irene Lamb said this year they are excited because they have a normal amount of berries. She believes the picking experience is both calming and educational, especially for kids. She calls it horticulture therapy.
“That was a real eye-opener for me, that kids need to be in this. Just to see where the food comes from, how to pick it, how much time it takes to pick. We had a child recently say ‘Wow, it must take a lot of pickers to get this to the grocery store,’ and that’s really important for them to understand,” said Lamb.
It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to pick a gallon of berries. Throughout the experience, kids are also taught measurements like how much is in a gallon, quart and pint and the entire growing process from pollinators to picking.
3 Birds Berry Farm grows three types of berries on more than six acres of land: blueberry, raspberry and blackberry. The farm does not use pesticides so it’s okay for visitors to taste the berries while picking.