Summer has arrived, and in the Yakima Valley that means the orchards are alive and well. Plenty of fresh fruit to go around -- and if you aren't into going to the store to pick up your favorite berries, have you ever tried picking your own blueberries?

My mom invited me to Sloop Orchards last year, so now I suppose an annual blueberry picking trip is now our thing. I LOVE it! :) We also brought along my niece, Charlie Mae, it's debatable if more blueberries made it in her mouth or the bucket but she is always a hoot!

Townsquare Media/Sloop Orchards/ Charlie Mae by Sarah J
Charlie Mae

Sloop grows cherries, pears, apples, peaches and blueberries with a choice of picking your own blueberries for $1.75 per pound OR having Sloop pick for you for a price of $2.90 per pound. I recommend picking your own if you have never done it before, seriously. They are only open Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursday from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and again from 6-9 p.m. Perfectly timed so it's not crazy hot. You bring your own bucket or bag, and when you arrive they provide you with a bucket and a section where you can pick as many blueberries as your heart desires!

Townsquare Media/Sloop Orchard/Sarah J
Townsquare Media

It's such a gorgeous drive, the view at Sloops is incredible. Make sure to wear clothes you don't mind getting blueberry juice on. While you are picking you'll have some low bushes so if being on your knees is painful, that is something to think about. But it truly is something to try, even if it's just a fun trip for when company comes into town! I froze 5 gallon bags with 5 cups of blueberries in each one. Now what to make with them! :)

I've tried syrup, maybe this year some blueberry jalapeno jam, blueberry muffins (those are a lot harder to make than I thought) blueberry coffee cake, blueberry fruit roll ups, blueberries for smoothies, salads and snacks! YUM! I think I might need to go back and pick more blueberries! You wanna come? :)

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