Below you’ll find information about picking and preserving your berries, as well as the health benefits and nutritional values of our various berries. Please Contact Us with any of your questions.
There might be times when the availability of berries is limited. In these cases, we ask that you sign up below so you can be notified of picking day and time.
It’s also a good idea to sign up for notifications if you’d like to know when we have various berries available to pick and other important information to share. If you have a long drive it would be best if you call or check Facebook for the latest on berry availability.
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Berry-Picking & Preservation Tips
Before you leave to go to the farm:
- Always call before you go to the farm – when the berries are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
- Leave early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
- IronGate Berry Farm will furnish picking containers designed for picking the fruit you’re after — no need to bring your own.
- Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you’d be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don’t forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren’t a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.
When you get home with your berries
- DON’T wash the berries until you are ready to use them or freeze them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
- Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash off the others, drain them and freeze them up! (Unless you’re going to make jam right away). Blackberries are less perishable than blueberries or strawberries, but should still be refrigerated as soon as possible after picking. Temperatures between 34 F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze the berries while in the fridge!
- Even under ideal conditions berries will only keep for a week or less in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible after picking.
Tips on How to Pick Blackberries
- There are two types of blackberries: thorny and thornless! IronGate Berry Farm has thornless varieties only. With 4 different varieties, we can offer you a good eating and cooking berry.
- A ripe blackberry is deep black with a plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug. If the berry is red or purple, it’s not ripe yet.
- Repeat these operations using both hands until each hold 3 or 4 berries. Unlike strawberries, blackberries are usually pretty tough, so I dump mine into the bucket. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Reach in between the stems to grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the plant and you’ll find loads of berries that other people missed!
- Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary. Cool them as soon as possible after picking. Blackberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, though after a few days the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and tends to shrivel.
- Don’t overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down — you’ll just squish/burst your berries and lose quality.
Nutritional Information of our Berries
Blueberries are popular berries that serve as a great source of vitamin K. They will be ready to pick late June – July.
One cup (148 grams) of blueberries provides the following nutrients:
• Calories: 84
• Fiber: 3.6 grams
• Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
• Vitamin K: 24% of the DV
• Manganese: 22% of the DV
Blueberries also contain antioxidants which helps to lower the risk of heart disease in both healthy people and those at high risk for the disease.
Blueberries may lower the risk of diabetes as well. Studies have shown that blueberries or bioactive blueberry compounds can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26%.
Strawberry picking is from mid May – June. They are one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world and also one of the best sources of vitamin C.
One cup (144 grams) of whole strawberries provides (25):
• Calories: 46
• Fiber: 3 grams
• Vitamin C: 97% of the DV
• Manganese: 24% of the DV
Strawberries are good for heart health. In fact, a study of over 93,000 women found that those who ate more than 3 portions of strawberries and blueberries per week had over a 30% lower risk of heart attack.
Other studies have shown that strawberries may reduce a number of risk factors for heart disease including blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and oxidative stress.
Strawberries can also reduce inflammation by lowering inflammatory chemicals in the blood, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Moreover, strawberries may help control blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing diabetes. In fact, a study of over 200,000 people found that eating strawberries could reduce type 2 diabetes risk by as much as 18%.
These tangy berries grow wild in Missouri. The “canes” they grow on are covered with thousands of sharp spines, making picking them an unpleasant task for many. We only grow thornless blackberries to save you and us both the pain and discomfort. Picking times will be from mid to end of June – July.
One cup (144 grams) of blackberries provides
• Calories: 62
• Fiber: 8 grams
• Vitamin C: 50% of the DV
• Potassium 233 mgs
They’re packed with vitamin C. Just one cup of raw blackberries has 30.2mg of vitamin C. That’s half the daily recommended value. Vitamin C is integral to collagen formation in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Vitamin C may also help you: heal wounds, regenerate the skin, battle free radicals (molecules released by toxins) in the body and absorb iron.
They’re high in fiber and so may help you to reduce cholesterol, promote regular bowel movements, control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of sugar absorption, lose weight by making you feel fuller longer and provide fuel to nourish healthy gut bacteria.
Blackberries are also a great source of Vitamin K and Maganese.