U-Pick for a Fruitful Summer (Recipe: Blackberry Vanilla Clafouti)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Luscious, sun-warmed berries might be the greatest food around. Every spring and summer my family heads out to a nearby farm to pick as many berries as possible. For only 30 minutes of work we end up with enough berries to make jam, pie, muffins, cake, turnovers, and more. And don’t forget all the berries just for snacking – it’s hard to resist filling your belly as you grab the fruit off the bush.

U-pick farms are a great economical option for fruit-loving families. Because you’re doing all the work and no packaging or transportation is required, farmers can charge less for their produce than in stores or even at the farmers’ market.

To find a local U-pick farm, either ask around at your local market, or try the Pick Your Own website. It’s a great resource, not only for finding farms but with recipes and tips for what to do with your haul.

ALL photos by Megan

Plan Ahead

  • Most U-pick farms charge by the pound, but some use bushels or buckets as their measurement.
  • Berries stain, blackberry brambles have thorns, and fields can be muddy. Dress accordingly!
  • Decide how you’ll use the berries before picking. It’s easy to over-pick, so be prepared to have freezer space when you get tired of eating berries (it happens). A batch of jam generally uses about 5 pounds of fruit.
  • Call the farm before you visit – picking conditions can vary from day to day, and the farmer will let you know the best time to visit.

Picking Tips

  • Ripe berries squish easily, especially in eager little hands. Don’t try to pick by grabbing the berry; instead hold the stem just above the berry and pull down with a twist.
  • Push aside leaves to get to berries other people might have left behind.
  • Only pick berries that are ripe – unlike some other fruits, berries do not continue to ripen once picked.
  • Don’t neglect smaller or “ugly” berries that don’t match what you see at the grocery store. They are just as delicious, and smaller berries are often sweeter than their big brothers.

Recipe: Blackberry Vanilla Clafouti

Clafouti is a great showpiece for fresh berries, and it requires hardly any work at all. It can pull double duty as dessert one night and then as breakfast the next morning, and is delicious hot or cold. I like just a little bit of powdered sugar on top, but you can top with maple syrup, ice cream, or a berry sauce.

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Grease a 9-inch square pan or pie dish and scatter berries across the bottom.
  2. Whisk together flour and sugar, then beat in eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla.
  3. Pour over berries, redistributing them as needed.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned. Clafouti will sink as it cools.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Do you visit U-pick farms? What’s your favorite way to use summer fruits?

About Megan

Megan Myers is a copyeditor and spatula-wielding mom seeking out the simpler life in Texas. Her blog, Stetted, focuses on her family’s journey from junk food addiction to a diet of local, organic, and whole foods, while exploring the many options farmers provide.

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  1. I’ve never been to a U Pick farm, but I remember the joys of eating freshly picked berries from the forest when I was a kid so I would love to have that kind of experience again. I’ll have to see where there are some near me.

  2. Steve @ HPD says

    If I have to buy enough fresh blackberries from the grocery store for our cobbler, it will cost us around $18. If I go with frozen, i might get out the door around $12. But at the u-pick farm, it’s a five buck cobbler.

    Obtw … you said dress accordingly … and it’s amazing how many folks I see out there in flip-flops scurrying through the brambles, cussing the whole way.


  3. wow…you get to pick berries ! lovely photos

  4. We love pick your own farms – but you’re right – you need to be prepared with what you’re going to do with all that fruit!

  5. Yum! That looks delicious! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of u-pick season!

  6. Visiting U-pick farms is something we look forward to each and every year. We always pick strawberries – those tasty gems are nothing like what you get at the supermarket! And we would like to try a blueberry U-pick this year. Can’t wait to have red stained fingers from picking!!

  7. One of my favorite things about spring is being able to head to the local farms to pick our own berries. This clafouti sounds fantastic.

  8. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says

    When I was a child we would go to the back roads alongside the rice fields and pick dewberries. It is a great memory for me. We have several U-pick farms near by but I always find myself eying the sides of roads for those dewberries. I am looking forward to U-pick peaches later on in the summer.

  9. We just went to our first U-Pick farm last weekend. It is right down the street, so we drive by it every day. It was so fun to finally be able to get in there and pick some fresh fruits and veggies! We can’t wait to go again.

  10. We are picking blueberries coming weekend! Thanks for sharing this simple clafouti recipe 🙂

  11. so delicious.I can make strawberries pie.Thank for your post

  12. this looks really yummy! I made a Blackberry parfait with roasted nuts earlier it was really good Ive been getting into parfaits a lot recently. so good.

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