There are many local farms and growers where you can have a great day out picking your own fruits and vegetables, get your hands dirty, and enjoy the fresh air and countryside.
The fun of picking your own fruits or vegetables is second only to growing them yourself in the first place. But, as more people try and eat healthy food using fresh produce, there is ample opportunity close to Nashville to get your hands dirty and go and pick exactly what you want, how much you want, and take it home to enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal.
August, September and October are when most of the fruits and vegetables you are likely to want to eat are available. Not only do locally grown fruit and vegetables picked fresh taste so much better than store bought products, they are often a lot cheaper as well. In addition, you have done your bit to save the planet by not buying food that has travelled hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to your local supermarket. Plus, you have supported local farmers and growers. It’s a win-win-win all round.
So what is likely to be available at the dozens of U Pick farms in Middle Tennessee at this time of year?
While August may be one of the peak months in vegetable and fruit production, there will still be some leftover in September, especially if they are not of the soft fruit variety. You can expect to see: apples, apricots, blueberries, butternut squash, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, green beans, kale, lettuce, mangoes, okra, peaches, peppers, plums, pumpkins raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, winter squash, and zucchini.
Moving into October, the early fall crops will start appearing: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, grapes, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnips, pumpkins, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, and winter squash.
Obviously, not all the farms listed here are growing all of these fruits and vegetables, so do make a point of contacting them first to see what is available for you to pick and their opening hours to avoid a long, unnecessary journey. Some good sites to visit before doing this are:
www.pickyourown.farm, www.farmerdirect2you.com and www.picktnproducts.org.
But not all vegetables are the same when it comes to their nutritious value. We have produced a chart showing just how the various vegetables stack up in terms of benefitting your diet.