If you're looking for an outdoor escape—while maintaining social distance guidelines, of course—picking your own blueberries might be the perfect activity. Albritton Fruit Farms, located on State Road 72, has experienced an influx of customers the past two weekends at its U-pick blueberry sessions.
Farm co-owner Sarah Albritton says she has never seen such an increase.
"We have people driving two hours just to come and pick," says Albritton. The farm has enlisted 20 extra family employees and even had to rip out citrus groves to allow for parking space. "If we have another two weekends like we did last weekend, we'll be doing great," she says.
U-pick dates are offered on select weekends throughout April and May from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Pickers must wash their hands before entering the farm and maintain CDC-prescribed social distance throughout the 25 acres of crops. Sanitized buckets will be provided, and blueberries cost $5 per pound. Payment is credit card only.
Commercial harvesting is the farm's main source of income, but since the pandemic began, market prices have dropped to under $2 per pound and orders from the farm's packing house have slowed. The U-pick business is an attempt for the farm to make money on the side.
"We are trying to break even by opening the U-pick extra days and salvaging the crop that is out there now," says Albritton.
Recipe: Station 400's Blueberry Pancakes
We first published this recipe in our "Best Breakfasts" feature. It's perfect to make when you have an abundance of blueberries.
4 2/3 cups flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 quart milk
1 stick butter, melted
Mix dry ingredients together. Mix eggs and milk. Combine wet with dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter to finish. Add fresh blueberries to pancakes while on griddle. Garnish with butter, powdered sugar, lemon zest and warm maple syrup.
Albritton Fruit Farms is located at 9600 State Road 72, Sarasota. The next U-Pick dates are Friday, April 17-Sunday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, click here.