It’s Berry Picking Time in Tennessee

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | 2:56pm

Nashville - Now through August is prime berry picking time in Tennessee. Blueberries are already available in abundance across most of the state, but domestic blackberries are also beginning to show up on farms and at farmers markets in warmer areas. 

A number of Tennessee berry farms raise both domestic and wild blackberries. Domestic blackberries are typically larger than wild blackberries, and their canes have no thorns, making them easier to pick. Indigenous blackberries are more tart than domestic varieties, and their briars are famously thorny.

Pre-picked berries will be available at most farmers markets and berry farms, but berry picking at a nearby farm can be a fun summertime activity, with a delicious reward for the effort, if pickers are properly prepared. 

First, always call or check a farm’s social media updates to verify hours, picking conditions and availability before making a trip to a farm. Find out whether you need to bring your own containers. Be sure to wear a hat, use sunscreen, wear bug spray and bring water to drink.

Pick only berries that are fully ripe, plump and pull free easily from the plant, because berries do not ripen at all after picking. Get your picked berries out of the sun as soon as possible. Put picked berries in a shaded area other than inside a car then cool them as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to bring coolers and icepacks along to keep berries at their best until you can store them at home. Berries can remain fresh for a few days before immediate use, but are easy to freeze and use later.

Find local pick-your-own berry farms, farmers markets, recipes and more information about Tennessee farm products on the Pick Tennessee Products website or with the Pick TN mobile app.