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U-Pick

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for July 2006

In New England, where I live, it's berry season. Strawberries are winding down, but blueberries and raspberries are just beginning to come in. Even some of the wild black raspberries that grow in profusion along many of the hiking trails are ready. And soon the blackberries will be in. And then, apples.

Of course, we can buy these yummy fruits at roadside stands and farmers markets, and even supermarkets. But one of my favorite ways to get them is to go out picking. Plenty of organic farms around here offer pick-your-own programs, where you get some outside time, pay considerably less, and get to pick the perfect fruits for your own taste. And then of course, the wild ones are up for grabs, at no cost.

If you don't know where to go in your area, try asking at the County Extension office (a treasure trove of agricultural and gardening information), your local Chamber of Commerce, or any local farmers organizations. Or ask berry sellers at your own farmers market.

You may want to acquire a dehydrator, and then *as soon as you get home*, fill up the drying racks. On a cold winter day, it's hard to beat the taste of a dried berry or tree fruit coming to life in your mouth.

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