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Seasonal Guide to Fresh Produce

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McHenry County is home to so many unique farms and farmers markets. Unlike grocery stores though, fresh produce is only available during certain times of the year. Explore the guide below to discover where and when you can pick and purchase the freshest produce straight from the growers. Looking to shop our farmers markets? Click HERE to see all of the farmers markets that call McHenry County home. 

 

Asparagus – 

            Asparagus is one of the earliest vegetables that pop up in late spring. In northern Illinois, you can expect to begin seeing Asparagus in late April and through May and beyond. Looking for a unique way to use your freshly harvested asparagus? Click HERE for Spears to You’s homemade Asparagus Alfredo. 

Strawberries –

            Strawberry picking is one of the most popular times to visit our farms. Multiple McHenry County farms offer acres of strawberry plants for u-pick fun. Typically, strawberries are ready for picking in mid-June and only last a few weeks due to the popularity. Because strawberries bruise easily, remember to be gentle when picking.

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Raspberries – 

            Raspberries are typically available for picking in early July and again in mid-August and can last through early to mid-October. You will know a raspberry is ready for picking by gently tugging on the berry. If it easily pulls from the plant, it is ripe and ready for picking!

Green Beans –

            Green Bean harvesting begins in July and last through early October or the first frost. Green Beans grow exceptionally well in the climate and soils of Northern Illinois which make it a great crop to look for in McHenry County. They are ready to pick when they reach a length of about four inches and are the diameter of a pencil. 

Blueberries –

            Is there anything sweeter than freshly picked blueberries? You can pick blueberries in July and August in northern Illinois. The sweetest, juiciest berries will be deep blue in color and will be nice and plump. 

Sunflowers – 

            Sunflowers are the first sign of the end of Summer and the welcoming of Autumn. McHenry County farms have acres of sunflowers available for picking and Instagram-ing. Sunflowers are usually ready for viewing and picking by late July and last through late September. When picking your sunflower, make sure to cut the flower off the plant about 6 inches below the flower head. 

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Apples –

            Apple picking season is another of the most popular seasons to visit McHenry County farms. Apples are ready for picking starting in August and usually last through October. Different varieties ripen at different times, so you will want to check with the farm of your choice to make sure they have the apple you are looking for. 

Tomatoes – 

            Tomatoes are usually available in late August through the first frost which is typically in early October. Tomatoes are prime and ready to pick when bright red. You can pick tomatoes that are still green because they will ripen off the vine, but the taste will not be as good as vine-ripened tomatoes. 

Pumpkins – 

            Is it even Fall if you haven’t picked your own pumpkin? Pumpkins are generally ripe for picking in September. You will know that you’ve found the perfect pumpkin if it is firm and dark orange. The shape of a pumpkin does not affect the quality, so the ideal pumpkin can be symmetrical or lumpy, it’s up to you!  

Christmas Trees – 

            Did you know that McHenry County Christmas Tree farms harvest more trees than anywhere else in Illinois? A freshly cut tree from a tree farm will provide you with the longest-lasting tree. As long as you water it regularly it should last through the holiday season. 

 

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