The professional residential cleaning company, MOLLY MAID, suggests that you make the most of what this time of year has to offer by encouraging your family to come together as a day out to gather up the fruits of the land – whether in your garden, the local market or on a farm. It is days like these that not only serve as an educational lesson, but will also create memories for the whole family, not to mention filling your fridge and pantry with nutritious goodies.  So, here's how to prepare yourselves for a wonderful day in the countryside:

What to bring:

  • Pack for a day out and bring snacks, a picnic and hand towels or disposable wipes and plenty of liquids to drink.
  • Include containers for picking and for carrying the fruit home.
  • Dress in old clothes that can get dirty and some extra layers to keep you warm – and remember to wear worn sports shoes or rubber boots if the ground is soggy.
  • Don't forget sunscreen if it is sunny for any exposed skin, along with a hat.
  • Bring your camera (not the expensive one!) to capture these memories.
  • Bring a cooler if it is still warm out to keep your picnic and drinks cool, but also your picked fruit on the way home.

On arrival at the farm:

  1. Take some time to explain to your children how to identify and pick ripe fruit (see below for some quick tips).
  2. Make sure you know where to meet up should you get lost, as orchards and farms can be spread over large areas.
  3. Read the farm rules, as some farms are more relaxed than others and teach your children to respect the plants.
  4. Ensure you walk within the rows avoiding to step on any plants or to damage them. 

Fruit

Is it ripe?

How to pick

Apple

The flesh colour at the bottom should have turned from green to yellow-green.

Roll or twist the apple away from the fruit spur and it should pick easily with the stem still attached

Blackberry

The berry should be full and black. Any hint of red means that it's not ripe.

Best to pick early in the day and should drop at the slightest of touch.

Pear

Fruit should be turning from green to yellow and the stem separates easily from the branch.

Grasp the fruit firmly and twist and roll it to make the stem separate from the tree.

Plum

As they ripen, their flesh softens, sugar content increases and colour deepens. Depending on the variety, look for the deepest in colour and slight softness, especially at the tip end.

Gentle but firm pull from the branch of the tree ensuring not to damage the flesh.

Remember Plan B: With Canadian weather in the fall, it's always helpful to have a Plan B. Whether it is exploring the farm in dryer areas, such as petting zoos, hay barns or gift shops, the fun doesn't have to end! Or, you may alternatively have a trip to the museum or movies up your sleeve, so your children will remember it as “the time we went to pick fruit and instead had fun doing…” something else!

Read the next MOLLY MAID blog on Friday, September 12th for ideas of preserving fall fruits.