Here in the northern Hemisphere, gardeners are starting to reap the fruits of their labors. Fresh vegetables and fruits are a delightful change from our winter dining choices. We relish the taste of the first ripe tomato warm from the sun, perfect strawberries bursting with flavor and of course the ever-present zucchini.
For gardeners who do not grow a wide range of edibles, there are still ways to enjoy fresh, local produce. Farmer's Markets, U-picks and Farm Stands dot the countryside and with the help of our Go Gardening directory, you can that farm-fresh flavor too!
Go Gardening is much more than a directory for locating nurseries and garden centers. Farm stands, U-Picks and CSAs are also listed. A virtual alphabet of edibles is available; Apples, Blueberries, Corn, Dill and Eggplants are just a few things that one might find at a local farm stand. There are U-picks for blueberries, strawberries, apples and peaches. Chances are, something is in season nearby.
As an example, here is a list of the Farm Markets and Stands within 50 miles of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
In addition, here is the same search for U-picks and Apple Orchards.
Cherries are currently in season at the 5 Star Cherry Ranch in Leona Valley, CA
Nearly everyone will find something edible nearby.
Most of the entries are currently from the US, but there is the ability for anyone, in any country, to add their favorite farm stand, nursery or farmer's market. We'd love to see this become a world-wide directory so that travelers could plan outings and locals could have access to the freshest food and unique destinations. Images are welcome and we'd love for you to show off your favorite farm or orchard.
While gathering information for this article, I visited The Berry Patch in Dexter, KY. There are several acres of wonderful blueberries and the public can pick from 5PM until sundown during the season, which usually runs during June and July. I also visited the Harvest Time farm stand in Benton, KY, where local produce is the popular draw for the town's residents. Currently, fresh tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and new potatoes are the most popular items.
Support your local produce vendor or farmer and make a point to check out their offerings. U-Picks are a great way to show children where their food comes from and chances are, they will be more agreeable to eating something they've had a hand in harvesting. With the Go Gardening directory at your fingertips, a family friendly weekend afternoon could be quite tasty.
A big thanks to Harvest Time Market in Benton, KY and The Blueberry Patch in Dexter, KY for allowing me to photograph their operations!