Straight from the Patch

Strawberry season has arrived in Southern Illinois. Blueberries, lavender, and other fresh edible treats will soon follow. Peonies are blooming, and Zinnia and sunflower fields will likely be ready in the future months for gorgeous bouquets. Don’t forget that there is even a gourmet mushroom farm.

As a kid, my parents took us to pick strawberries almost every spring. I remember my grandma going with us when I was really little. We often went to a spot near Farina. Of course, being kids, my brother and I probably looked forward to stopping in at Frontier Village on the way home for those huge, colorful, lollipops almost as we did being in the berry patch.

We also made memorable road trips to Blueberry Hill at Cobden. I don’t know that he is still there, but there was a really cool older gentleman named Moses that directed people to the right areas to pick blueberries. One of my aunts joined us for the adventure one year, and a neighbor friend came along another year. It was a fun event. Of course, we would drive around in the country and through the forest to see plenty of other sites in the area.

My mom would use some of the berries in a wonderful, no-bake blueberry cheesecake… We also made trips throughout Southern Illinois to pick blackberries, apples, and peaches. My parents would prep and freeze many of these fruits to use in the winter months. My parents canned and froze many things. Between these trips and our large garden, our deep freeze and a pantry closet in our guest room, we had a pretty good food supply on hand.

Listed below is a sampling of the many Southern Illinois Orchards, Patches, and Farms. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. Please be aware that due to COVID-19 precautions, places that previously offered U-Pick Opportunities may be unable to do so at this time. They may still have some wonderful, fresh treats already picked for purchase.

PLEASE contact each and/or check social media posts to see hours and if appointments are necessary as schedules may fluctuate before showing up to be sure they are open and not sold out of product.

We will continue to share posts from Southern Illinois farms, orchards, and farm stands, and farmer’s markets as we see them on the A Slice of Southern Illinois Facebook page. When possible, links to contact info for them will be in the “Shop Local: Farmer’s Markets, Stores, & Stands” section of the ASOSI app as well as this website.

ALTO PASS

Rendleman Orchards https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Fruit—Vegetable-Store/Flamm-Orchards-140416935995156/

BELLEVILLE

Eckert’s Country Store & Farm, https://www.eckerts.com/belleville-farm

BUMCOMBE

Hallsberry Farms https://www.facebook.com/Hallsberry-Farms-607311662746573/

CARLYLE

McConauchie Manor Farm http://mcmanor.com/

CENTRALIA

Schwartz Farms http://www.schwartzfruitfarm.com/m/

COBDEN

Bass Farms https://www.facebook.com/Bass-Farms-312520605832167/

Blue Berry Hill Farm https://www.facebook.com/Blueberry-Hill-Frm-145088728847265/

Flamm Orchards https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Fruit—Vegetable-Store/Flamm-Orchards-140416935995156/

Shawnee Hills Lavender https://shawneehillslavender.com/

COLLINSVILLE

The Donahue’s Sunshine Farm https://www.facebook.com/donahuesunshinefarm/

DIX

Schwartz Farms http://www.schwartzfruitfarm.com/m/

KELL

Sager Farms https://www.facebook.com/Sager-Farms-1338423922880064/

HARRISBURG

Peony Hills Farm https://peonyhillfarm.com/

MAKANDA

Flyway Family Farm https://www.facebook.com/FlywayFamilyFarm/

MILLSTADT

Eckert’s Country Store & Farm https://www.eckerts.com/

MURPHYSBORO

McLaughlin Strawberry Farm https://www.facebook.com/MclaughlinStrawberryFarm/

SIMS

Freelands Strawberries and Vegetables https://www.facebook.com/FreelandsStrawberries/

ST. JACOB

Demange Farm https://www.facebook.com/demangefamilyfarms/

Strackeljahn Farms https://www.facebook.com/pages/Strackeljahn-Farms/126200920766900

WATERLOO

Stuckmeyers Plants & Produce http://www.stuckmeyer-illinois.com/

WILLOW HILL

Rising Sun Family Farm https://www.facebook.com/Rising-Sun-Family-Farm-663357053748679