Editor’s Note: This review was written based on a personal experience in 2013. Currently McCann’s is only picking blueberries and the story has been updated to reflect that.
Strawberry Season may have drawn to a close, but that doesn’t mean fresh berry goodness is at its end. Blueberries are ready to make their debut! Forget about driving to Michigan to pick them, you can pick your own locally-grown blueberries just a short drive away in Woodstock. McCann Berry Farm will open for their U-Pick Blueberry Season at the beginning of July, typically around the 10th.
I made a visit two years ago with two toddlers in tow. This is a straight, no-nonsense, berry picking experience. While McCann may not offer all the bells and whistles of other U-Pick farms; i.e. rides and attractions, what they do offer is easy picking of big, juicy berries. If your kids require the additional distraction, then leave them at home while you load up on pounds and pounds of fresh blueberries to freeze later. Still, one should never underestimate the simple joys of time outdoors and blue-stained lips.
Blueberry picking is a fairly easy excursion as compared to other U-Pick experiences. Strawberry picking requires a lot of bending over and pumpkin picking is usually a muddy affair. Blueberries grow on bushes and are equally accessible to the tall and the small in the family without any backaches.
McCann Berry Farm is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the season, and they are usually picked out by noon so arrive early and definitely call ahead. Your best bet is to visit after July 20th when more fruit has been able to ripen. As a reminder, be sure to call ahead for current picking conditions before you head out.
When you arrive, you can pick out a pail or bring your own. A full bucket can be awfully heavy, so bring a wagon if you want to take away a big haul. At McCann’s, you’ll be assigned a row to pick from, please stick to that row and try to pick it as clean as possible. You may be tempted to stray when you see a row down the aisle that is bursting with berries, but staff will be keeping their eyes out. This is how they manage supply and make sure they have enough ripe berries for everyone who comes to pick. So be a good example and play nice, everyone has more fun when we follow the rules.
McCann Berry Farm
18110 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock | (815)568-8810
See website for current hours, conditions and pricing.
Find more U-pick Berry Farms in Lake County, with an interactive map!