“I used to see people waiting to pull fresh peas off the back of trucks. The vines were all tangled and it was quite messy,” says Dale Bankhead of Farmer Dale Produce, one of Utah’s many U-pick farms, located in Wellsville, “so I decided to plant five acres of peas. Now people can go out and easily pick the fresh peas themselves. They love it!”
Pick Your Own (PYO) or U-pick farms began in the 19th century, mostly in New York and New Jersey, when apple growers advertised country outings for those interested in picnicking and picking produce among the fruit trees, according to pickyourown.org.
In the 1980’s, as more and more people became interested in fresher, less processed food, the practice of picking your own produce gained popularity.
U-pick farms are still very popular, and many have a Facebook page, making it easier to stay informed about when and what produce is available.
A few of Utah’s U-pick farms are:
Farmer Dale Produce, as mentioned above, specializes in peas, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, tomatoes and corn, with a Facebook page for updates.
Mt. Naomi Farm, in Hyde Park, states on their Facebook page, that they will, “not be growing strawberries… However, our blackberries, raspberries, apples and peaches look fantastic this year!”
“The fun begins,” states Day Farms’ Facebook page. Located in Layton, this U-pick farm is due to open in July with corn and tomatoes. They also have asparagus, raspberries, peppers, eggplant and a pumpkin patch.
In Sandy, Farnsworth Farms and Cider Mill will open in May with greenhouse flowers and vegetables. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Farnsworth-Farms-Cider-Mill-152625836591/.
Owned and operated by Mel and Janene Miller, M.J. Miller’s Farm and Orchard is located in Payson and specializes in beets, cucumbers, garlic, green beans, potatoes and more. Visit their website, mjmillerfarmandorchard.yolasite.com, for more information.
Shoal Creek Berries, located in Enterprise, has raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. Their Facebook page has updates and can be found at Facebook.com/pages/Shoal-Creek-Berries/153495321328740.
For information on when and where fruits, vegetables, and even Christmas trees will be available in Utah, the Harvest Page on pickyourown.org is a great resource.
The season for picking your own produce is fast approaching, and when it comes to what is his favorite part of having a U-pick farm, Bankhead says, “Seeing people, groups and families come together and have a good time.”