You want family-oriented?
I gotcha family-oriented, right here.
This morning, my wife and my girls and I got up kind of early for a Saturday.
We drove up I-35 to Gainesville, TX, and headed east on Hwy 82 for 26 miles, before heading north on Hwy 91 for six miles to Crawford Rd, and took a left. A coupla hundred yards later, we were at the Bailey Berry Patch.
These people are frickin' brilliant. They found a nice sandy piece of acreage that has decent drainage, and put in wide-spread rows of blueberries and three acres of blackberries. In Texas, while blackberries thrive, blueberries are kind of rare. These people use drip irrigation, and pump from the large stocktank that they have at the bottom of the hill. They plant six acres with several different varieties of blueberries, and they come in at slightly different rates. Because the season is June through mid-July, the day gets kind of hot by mid-afternoon, so they deal with that, too-- they shut down at 2:00PM. They're closed on Monday and Friday.
Here's the brilliant part-- they don't pick 'em. You do. You have to get up early, and drive out to the countryside, and then you do the picking, bring up your bucket... and pay them for the privilege.
Do people really do this?
Only several hundred a day.
$11.00 a gallon gets you a bucket that's wayyyy more then a gallon. They give the kids little painted pails to help out, too. With low-mown grass and wide-spread rows of chest-high berry bushes, you just let the kids run wild. When they get bored, let 'em ride down with one of the nice ladies in a golf cart to the stock tank, where they can feed the enormous catfish down there.
When you bring the pails of berries up, they take 'em from you and clean the berries, running them over a small conveyor belt with a blower and the owners' grandchildren posted to pick put the unripe or bad berries or detritis that got into your bucket. Then they bag and label your harvest for your drive home. They'll also sell you a glass of blueberry lemonade for a buck, though they've got big coolers of water spread around, and even have (clean!) restrooms.
They've got a little vegeteble stand, and have homemade preserves for sale, too.
This place is kind of idyllic.
The people are nice.
The place is nice.
The produce is nice.
The experience of letting your kids run around picking berries and coming back with purple faces and full buckets is nice.
Having blueberries all year long (we just freeze them whole in ziplock bags) that we picked is nice.
We spent $22.00, plus another $5 for a couple of hamburgers and some lemonade to support the Sadler VFD today.
We had a great time.
Just thought I'd let y'all know, next time you're in the area.