Berry Picking with the Kids


The last two weeks I’ve enjoyed some simple summer fun with my kids (running in the sprinkler, blowing bubbles, puzzles on the front porch), culminating in a short hike to pick blueberries this morning. It’s super humid and hot here in Connecticut so we hit the trail before 9 am, beach buckets in hand to collect our berries. Husband and I discovered this old apple orchard in Trout Brook Preserve (directions below) the first year we were married and have trekked every summer since to pick the berries or marvel at humongous pumpkins that grown in a long, sprawling patch come Fall.

This is the first year that four year old Son was committed (by us) to hiking all on his own while two year old Daughter was allowed relief in the Kelty backpack carrier.
The secret to hiking with young kids, I’ve found, is to give them responsibility and leadership. I’ve been showing Son how to spot trail markers on the trails near our house and so we designated him Leader of our hike, responsible for showing us the way. It took his mind off whining, “Can you carry me?” when he kept spotting yellow, then magenta arrows pointing us down the trail.
“Look, Mommy, the arrow’s pointing that way!”
Once we hit the orchard, it was a fun run down to the blueberry bushes followed by eager picking and popping in mouths. The kids didn’t manage to get any blueberries past their mouths into their buckets, but Husband and I stocked up for home.

If you live in Fairfield County, it’s worth the trip to this corner of Trout Brook Preserve in Easton. I suggest some kind of child backpack or carrier if your little one can’t make a 20 minute hike there and back. While the trail is shaded and cool, the orchard gets very hot in the sun so hike early if it’s going to be a scorcher. There were plenty of blueberries still to ripen, so this trip should work from mid-July until August 1.

In August, we pick raspberries at Candee Farm in Easton. Call ahead to see if they are ripe but we have found on occasion that when advised that they “weren’t ripe yet and to come on over to pick peppers and cukes instead,”that many berries were in fine shape. You’ll pay a small fee to take the raspberries home.

Here is a map to Trout Brook Preserve: Freeborn Road is located a short ways north of the intersection with Route 136. Park across from the gate marking the gravel road. Take the gravel road until you see the yellow arrow pointing to the right. Follow the yellow trail to the magenta trail. After entering the gate to the orchard, walk down the hill to the right for the blueberry bushes. Some of the near bushes may be picked already. We found the most ripe berries in the back and right side rows.

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