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Blue Hills U-Pick Berries and Cherries

by Lorraine A (follow)

Homemade raspberry jam on warm, white crusty bread has to be one of life's most enjoyable and simple pleasures. What makes it even more enjoyable to me is being able to head out into the countryside on a beautiful day and hand pick the berries to later cook up at home for our traditional, annual jam making day.

This year we headed to Blue Hills U-Pick Berries and Cherries in Silvan, arriving early enough to get the fruit before it was picked out for the day.

On arrival we waited in a short cue to pay for entry and collect our containers before joining the line for the minibus to take us down to the berry patch about a kilometre or two away.

Admittedly the berries here are so tasty that it was one for the container to take home, one for me to eat straight off the bush. I wasn't the only person doing this, in fact many of the children took great delight in trying to eat the least ripe raspberries and you could hear their parents almost demanding that they ate as many as they could to "make it worthwhile". There were lots of little giggles coming from behind the rows of raspberries and lots of big grins covered with red raspberry juice.

Raspberries were definitely the most popular fruit on the day that we visited but they also sell loganberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, youngberries and cherries. Availability depends on the season and what's ripe. If you're after any particular berry then it's best to check the berry report before going.

- Arrive as early as possible to get the best berries.
- Take sunscreen, a hat and some water.
- Don't rush the process, it's actually fairly therapeutic if you just relax and enjoy your surrounds and the kids really seem to enjoy the simpleness of it.
- Pack a snack or two just in case.
- Wet wipes might come in handy for sticky fingers too.

Entry to pick berries is $13 adults (includes the first 500g berries), kids are $6.50 (includes 250g berries).Anything thereafter is charged at $15 kg. At first I thought the entry was on the expensive side but after getting bused down, picking fruit, eating fruit, then eating some more fruit, I would say its great value, especially if you compare the prices to bland supermarket berries and the fact you're getting a fun family day out.

On the property there is also a kiosk, small gift shop, toilets and carpark.

Blue Hills is located at 27 Parker Rd, Silvan VIC and is open 9am-5pm during the picking season.

Happy berry picking!

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