Select for Yourself and Pick Perfection!
At Cricklewood Farm, you can get your food in any way that suits your whim: you can buy it off the shelves, ready to use from inside the market, or you can pick your own raspberries, pumpkins, or apples.
Here are some handy tips for the pick-your-own patches that will help make it a memorable and pleasant experience for the whole family!
- Select plump, firm, fully red berries (or yellow or purple if that is the color of the variety).
- Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
- When ripe, most varieties achieve a darker blush at peak sugar and they separate easily from the core, which remains attached to the plant.
- If you must pull hard to remove the berry or it remains attached to its core, it is not ripe!
- Harvest pumpkins when they are mature. They will keep best this way.
- Do not pick pumpkins off the vine because they have reached your desired size: if you want small pumpkins, buy a small variety.
- A pumpkin is ripening when its skin turns a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties).
- When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin’s skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe.
- To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear. Don’t cut too close to the pumpkin – a liberal amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin’s keeping time.
- Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
- Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry bedroom or cellar—anywhere around 55ºF.
Look for these characteristics for the perfect apple every time.
- Bruise- and nick-free
Colors vary on apple types and may not indicate ripeness. The orchard operators should be able to tell you which apples are ready (check out our apple calendar here).
Apples nearest the outside of the tree are the ones that ripen first. If a variety is at peak ripening time, start there for ready-to-eat apples.
Picked apples do not ripen more once they are removed from the branch.
To pick an apple off the tree perfectly, rotate the fruit upwards and twist. Don’t pull down or straight, and never shake branches.