Strawberries? Raspberries? Blueberries? The debate over which is the best berry may never be resolved, but this time of year, the blueberry is everyone’s favorite pick. Blueberry picking season begins in July and continues through late August or early September. From simple blueberry picking fields to full-service farms with play areas and petting zoos, we’ve rounded up some of our picks for the best blueberry picking near Boston. And we’ve added our favorite New England blueberry festival to our favorite family-friendly farms.
Find more seasonal berry (and more) picking opportunities in our Farm Guide where you can discover which farms near Boston have farm animals and even plan a family-friendly farm stay vacation. And be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide: Best Things To Do in Boston with Kids.
Read on to the end of the post to find a recipe for our favorite blueberry treat: the classic blueberry buckle.
Blueberry Picking Near Boston: Family-Friendly Farms
1. Turkey Hill Farm—Haverhill
Situated on top of a hill, this farm has great views to enjoy while hunting for tasty berries. Containers are provided for picking the berries, and there are bathrooms and drinking water available. Turkey Hill does not take credit cards so make sure to bring some cash. The farm is open for picking Tuesday through Sunday from 8am – 4pm. Call ahead or visit the website to check if blueberries are ready for picking. Raspberry and flower picking is also available in the summer months.
2. Boston Hill Farm—Andover
Along with u-pick, the property also has a play area with picnic tables; a petting farm complete with chickens, geese, bunnies, goats, sheep, and calves; and an ice cream stand with many flavors of Richardson’s ice cream. Boston Hill Farm is open daily from 9am – 7pm year-round but call ahead or visit the farm’s website to check on the picking schedule.
3. Tougas Family Farm—Northborough
This farm has a barnyard, playground, and farm kitchen in addition to all the u-pick fruits (which include blueberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, and more). After picking, kids can visit the barnyard to see the goats climb a mountain of stone and then enjoy farm-fresh homemade baked goods, ice cream, and strawberry donuts at the Tougas Farm Kitchen. There’s an admission fee that goes toward the purchase of your fruit. Tougas Family Farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am – 4:30pm. Call ahead or visit the website to check on picking availability.
One for the bucket, one for your mouth… Photo by Peter MacDonald courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
4. Ward’s Berry Farm—Sharon
There are eight varieties of blueberries to pick (plus tons of other fruits and vegetables available to pick), and containers are provided. While you’re at the farm, go for a hayride, visit the barnyard animals, and pop into the farm store for a sandwich and smoothie. The farm is open Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm. Call the farm or check their website for picking hours and conditions.
5. Parlee Farms—Tyngsboro
Before or after picking, your kiddos can visit Annie’s Animal Barn, which is home to over 60 farm animals visitors can pet and feed. The farm stand carries local fruits and vegetables as well as homemade baked goods. Treat your little ones to a scoop of ice cream at their stand before leaving. Come back to pick flowers and other fruits, too, like apples, cherries, peaches, and strawberries. Parlee Farms is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am – 4:30pm and Sunday from 8am – 1pm. Call ahead to confirm availability or check Today’s Farm News.
6. Cider Hill Farm—Amesbury
Not only does Cider Hill have great PYO blueberries (and raspberries), but they also have a Tyke Yard and sandbox for the kids to play in. Make sure to head into the farm stand for one of their famous cider donuts before leaving. The farm even has its own food truck, The Pitchfork, so you can grab a bite and relax on the farm. Beginning in May, the farm is open 7 days a week from 8am – 6pm. Make sure to visit the farm’s website or call ahead to check on picking schedules and conditions—and also to see what events (like the annual Blueberry & Flower Fest) are coming up!
Plan to spend some time at this farm that has a playground and farm animals along with U-pick blueberries (and a whole host of other pickable fruits and veggies). On festival weekends, the farm also offers hay wagon rides, duck races, and wee wagons. Make sure to check the events calendar to see if there are any special activities when you are planning on going. The farm stand has plenty of treats and local produce, along with homemade donuts and an ice cream window. The farm is open daily from 7am – 6pm. Check the website for seasonal festivals and events, as well as daily picking times and conditions.
Look at what I picked! Photo courtesy of Doe Orchards
8. Doe Orchards—Harvard
Doe has two acres of high-bush blueberries (plus raspberries). The farm is located right off a rail trail for easy access. After your family is done picking, see if you can spot a giant rock that looks like a whale! The farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am – 4pm. Call ahead to confirm availability. And check back year-round to find out when to return to pick peaches and apples and even cut your own Christmas tree.
Tips for Blueberry Picking with Kids
- Select plump berries that are light gray-blue in color. White and green colored blueberries don’t ripen after they are picked, although those that have turned purple or blue may.
- Blueberries hang on the bushes in bunches, and the easiest and fastest way to pick them is to hold your bucket under the branch in one hand and with your other hand, cup a ripe bunch and gently rub them with your fingers. Ripe berries will drop into the bucket, while unripe ones remain attached to the bush.
- Always call ahead to be sure the farm is open for picking.
- Bring your own buckets as they are not always provided.
- Wear sunscreen, a hat, and clothes that can withstand some blueberry stains.
Union Fair, Maine’s Wild Blueberry Festival
The 2022 Union Fair, Maine’s Wild Blueberry Festival, takes place from July 27 to the 31st. Celebrated since 1960, this event celebrates the state’s official fruit–which grows all along the coast–as well as Maine’s agricultural community. There will be fireworks, carnival rides, a blueberry museum, and (of course) pie-eating and pie-baking contests. Most of the blueberry-themed events, like the coronation of the Blueberry Queen, will happen on Friday, July 29. Children’s Day at the fairgrounds takes place on Saturday, July 30.
The sweetest treats come from the blueberries you picked! Blueberry Buckle photo courtesy of Taste of Home
Our Favorite Blueberry Recipe
If by some chance you come home with more blueberries than you can eat, we’re sharing one of our all-time favorites. Enjoy!
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Blend in egg.
4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
5. Add the flour mixture alternately with milk to creamed mixture.
6. Gently fold in blueberries.
7. Pour into greased 8″ square pan.
8. For topping combine ingredients and cut in butter. Sprinkle over batter.
9. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Originally published July 2012
Updated July 2022