Fresher tastes best. That’s the homegrown difference! Fresh produce provides more nutritional value and leaves a smaller carbon footprint, which makes our environment healthier as well.
At this time (3/9/17) we anticipate that we will open Pick-Your-Own Vegetables around around the beginning of July at our Belleville Farm. The cost of Pick-Your-Own Vegetables during the 2017 season will be $10 for a half peck, $15 for a peck and $20 for a half bushel. More information to come once it becomes available.
Starting in 2017 a field access pass will be required to enter our picking areas. The all-day field access pass will allow you to enjoy fruit samples, unlimited rides to the picking areas, fresh farm air and lasting memories. The field access pass is $1/person (children under 2 are free).
Eckert’s Country Store has an assortment of homegrown vegetables available seasonally from spring to winter.
Since ripening schedules and crop availability are not an exact science, always be sure to check the Eckert’s Crop Update to find out what crop(s) are available.
We are very excited to once again open our pick-your-own vegetable garden at our Belleville Farm, where guests can pick an assortment of vegetables, including tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, kale, onions and peppers.
Check the Crop Update to make sure pick-your-own vegetables are available the day you are planning to visit; availability will vary day to day. We recommend that guests bring a pair of gardening gloves because some of the vegetables have prickly vines and to wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots. The patch is in an open area with no shade, so wearing sunscreen, a hat or visor and sunglasses also is advisable. Eckert’s will provide containers for the produce guests pick.
2017 Prices (Pick-Your-Own Veggies May Be Mixed and Matched into a Container)
- $10 for 1/2 peck
- $15 for peck
- $20 for 1/2 bushel
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as potassium. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked for a variety of dishes, including sauces, soups and stews. They also may be canned or frozen for future recipes.
Choose tomatoes with skins that are very red and have a firm flesh.
Tomatoes are stored best at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and can be used within 1 week of ripening. Refrigeration of tomatoes is discouraged because cold temperatures result in a loss of flavor and a mushy flesh.
Pick-Your-Own Squash, Zucchini & Cucumber
Squash and Zucchini
Zucchini is a type of summer squash and is high in vitamin C.
Choose squash that are small, glossy, and tender—about 6 to 8 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. The skins should be free of soft spots and cuts. Handle with care because squash bruises and scratches easily. Also, use caution and wear gloves when picking because the leaf stalks and stems are prickly and may scratch and irritate unprotected hands.
Fresh squash should be stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wash when ready to use.
Eckert’s slicing cucumbers are a vine crop that are high in vitamin C.
Select cucumbers that are about 6 to 8 inches long, firm and with skins that are a consistent green. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow or dull in color.
Since cucumbers are more than 90 percent water, it is best store them wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag to retain their moisture. Cucumbers may be store in the refrigerator for7 to 10 days.
We grow the following varieties:
- Lazor Squash
- Green Zucchini
- Yellow Zucchini
- Speedway Cucumber
Kale is a nutrient-dense, leafy green vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. Kale is rich in vitamins A and C and is a good source of calcium and iron.
Select kale that is dark green with small to medium leaves (about the size of an adult hand). Avoid brown or yellow and wilted leaves.
Wash and refrigerate or use immediately for recipes. Smaller, tender leaves can be eaten raw, uncooked in salads; larger leaves should be cut and cooked (remove the ribs before cooking). Kale may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
Pick-Your-Own Onions and Peppers
Onions are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.
Choose onions with tops that are about 6 inches tall and when the tops have begun to fall over. Gently pull from the ground to prevent bruising.
Spring onions may be placed on the counter top for a couple of days or may be placed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. If using the tops, wrap them in a damp paper towel before refrigerating.
Eckert’s will offer bell (aristotle [red] and orange varieties), snacking (yummy mix variety) and hot (jalapeno variety) peppers.
Peppers should be harvested when they are firm and free of soft spots and wrinkles. They can be any size. When peppers are fully ripe, they will break easily from the plant. Red and orange bell peppers may be harvested immature and green or when they are fully mature at full color.
Jalapeno peppers can be harvested when red or green. Use caution and wear plastic or rubber gloves when handling jalapeno peppers and avoid contact with the eyes and nose and even shins because they can become painfully irritated.
All peppers may be placed on the counter top for a couple of days or may be placed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- Aristotle Pepper
- Yummy Mix Pepper
- Orange Pepper
- Jalapeno Pepper
Pick-Your-Own Sweet Corn
Eckert’s sweet corn is bi-color (yellow and white) and a great source of vitamin C and fiber.
Choose ears with tassels that are brown and dry and kernels that are full. The cob should feel firm. To remove ears from the stalk, quickly and firmly pull them downward and twist.
Sweet corn is best when eaten, canned or frozen immediately after harvesting; it can be refrigerated with husks on just 1 to 2 days.
Beets are a good source of folate; the beet tops are great sources of vitamin A and their roots are a good source of vitamin C. Beet tops can be cooked or eaten fresh as greens and provide more nutrition than the roots. Roots can be pickled or cooked.
Choose beets with firm, smooth skins and leaves that have not wilted. Beets are best when harvested at 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Greens should be 6 inches or less.
Fresh beets may stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for a week or longer. Trimming the tops offto about 1 inch above the roots helps keep beets fresher longer. Store the greens separately.