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. 


You don’t need to have your own garden to experience the joy that comes from fresh vegetables straight off the vine or from the ground. Eckert’s Belleville Farm proudly offers everyone in Southwest Illinois and the Greater St. Louis area the chance to pick your own fruits and vegetables during the summer months. When crop season arrives between early June and early August, go to our Crop Updates page or give us a call to find out what’s available. Then head to Eckert’s and pick up a Field Access Pass that lets you spend all day rambling through our picking areas and selecting your favorite produce to bring home.

We grow dozens of vegetables in our fields with something for everyone to enjoy. On any given day, you may find fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, kale, onions, peppers and beets. Or, pick your own cucumbers, squash and zucchini if you’re feeling like getting creative in the kitchen. Most vegetables are available in multiple varieties with the rich nutrients, amazing taste and smaller ecological footprint you only get from freshly picked veggies. Our Vegetables page has more about the produce we offer along with prices, harvesting advice and storage recommendations, so you can enjoy them at their best.

Belleville is less than half an hour from St. Louis, meaning even city folks are just a short drive away from the freshest veggies possible. And you don’t have to spend months planting, watering and weeding your own garden in order to pick your own from the farms of Eckert’s! Our Country Store and Farms is one of the best attractions in Illinois for family fun and outdoor activities. While you’re here, check out the Garden Center for other seasonal vegetables and plants. You can even cut your own Christmas tree during the winter! Plan your visit today and discover the homegrown difference.

 
 
 
 

 

TYPICAL SEASON:
MID Summer (JUNE-JULY)

AVAILABLE AT:
BELLEVILLE

2018 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

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. Field access is $2/person.  We do offer discount days. Monday* field access is free, Tuesday-Thursday field access is half price, just $1/person. On Labor Day + Columbus Day, field access will be $2/person. As always, children under 2 are free.

 

 

 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
Early July – Mid August

AVAILABILE AT:
Belleville

Pick-Your-Own Tomatoes

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.

Harvesting
Choose tomatoes with skins that are very red and have a firm flesh.

Storing
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.

 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
EARLY JULY – MID AUGUST

AVAILABILE AT:
BELLEVILLE

Pick-Your-Own Squash, Zucchini & Cucumber

Squash and Zucchini
Zucchini is a type of summer squash and is high in vitamin C.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
Fresh squash should be stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wash when ready to use.

Cucumbers
Eckert’s slicing cucumbers are a vine crop that are high in vitamin C.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
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
 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
EARLY JULY – MID AUGUST

AVAILABILE AT:
BELLEVILLE

Pick-Your-Own Kale

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.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
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.

 
 

 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
EARLY JULY – MID AUGUST

AVAILABILE AT:
BELLEVILLE

Pick-Your-Own Onions and Peppers

Onions
Onions are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
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.

Peppers
Eckert’s will offer bell (aristotle [red] and orange varieties), snacking (yummy mix variety) and hot (jalapeno variety) peppers.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
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
 

 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
EARLY JULY – MID AUGUST

AVAILABILE AT:
BELLEVILLE

Pick-Your-Own Sweet Corn

Eckert’s sweet corn is bi-color (yellow and white) and a great source of vitamin C and fiber.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
Sweet corn is best when eaten, canned or frozen immediately after harvesting; it can be refrigerated with husks on just 1 to 2 days.

 

 

TYPICAL SEASON: 
EARLY JULY – MID AUGUST

AVAILABILE AT:
BELLEVILLE

Pick-Your-Own Beets

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.

Harvesting
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.

Storing
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.