Worth the Road Trip From New Orleans :: Sunflower and Blueberry Picking in Mississippi
We’re not quite ready to run arms wide open out in the world, but after 10 weeks of exploring every inch of our own backyard in Metairie, we were ready for a little adventure. Vitamin D, fresh air and new surroundings are good for everyone, so we took a quick, kid-friendly road trip “field trip” from New Orleans to Mississippi!
We packed water, sunscreen and lots of snacks (you may want to throw technology in the car). We then took just over an hour drive East to Mississippi to go sunflower picking and blueberry picking (at two different farms), and it was an absolutely great day! I have 3 young children (ages 7, 4 and 2), and all 3 were engaged and happy during the adventure. On our drive in to Mississippi we got to see all types of animals from horses to cows and even baby goats (so cute!). The drive from Metairie is just over an hour to the sunflower farm, which was our first stop, and we hit the road by 8:30am which put us to the farm around 9:45am.
Sunflower Picking in Mississippi
First, we stopped by Coastal Ridge Farm to pick sunflowers. We bought our tickets online ahead of time (strongly recommend) and came prepared with our bucket and scissors. Right now you should definitely plan to bring your own garden shears, gloves if you want them and BIG buckets for transport home. Tickets were $12 online, and every adult needs a ticket. Each ticket gets you 1 bucket, and each bucket can be filled with 10-15 stems of gorgeous sunflowers. My kids were in complete awe of flowers that were not only taller than them, but also taller than their mom. There are multiple fields of sunflowers, and there is plenty of room to spread out comfortably and basically not interact with other guests.
I let my kids take turns picking out which flowers they wanted to cut down and then helped them cut. We even snagged some red sunflowers, which I honestly didn’t know were a thing until our visit. We appreciated the employees wearing masks and after we handed in our tickets, we were given free roam to explore the large sunflower fields. We even stopped by the small Bachelor’s Button field and the kids got to have their pick of the colorful blossoms. After about an hour, we decided we had finished exploring. Special note :: there are bees, ants and all sorts of natural insects. We strongly recommend you wear boots / rain boots, bring repellant and – for allergy kids – ensure you have the right supplies on hand for possible bites / stings.
Blueberry Picking in Mississippi
Next, we headed further up I-59 to Pearl River Blues Berry Farm for blueberry picking. I called when we were on our way to be sure they had availability to accommodate us, and they did. At the moment, they are handling picking by appointment only, so we strongly recommend calling in advance or letting the farm know that you are on your way. When we arrived a Pearl River, we were asked to wash our hands at the outdoor sink and given instructions on how to proceed. We again appreciated employees wearing masks and other pickers staying physically distanced.
The kids received a lesson on how to tell if a blueberry was ready to be picked, and they loved watching their buckets get fuller and fuller as they picked. You do not need any special supplies for this outing, and even small toddler hands can reach and manage the task. The owners also generously allow you to eat as you go, so kids love that part of the adventure, too! After about an hour we ended up with 2 gallons of fresh (and yummy) blueberries. We were able to pay via Venmo (no contact) and we were on our way. I would suggest bringing a container or ziplock bags to put your berries in. Also, you CAN freeze blueberries so if your kids go crazy, no big deal … or share with the neighbors. Each white bucket picked is $11 (or “pay what you can”), so the prices are extremely reasonable for organic, fresh fruit.
All in all it was a really great day and one of those happy memories that I hope my kids remember from this crazy time. If you leave New Orleans around 8:30am and take your time, you can expect to be back in the city by early to mid-afternoon. You can also stop in Slidell for Starbucks on the way there and Chick-fil-A on the way back, if you wish. If you take this adventure, let us know – we’d love to hear what you think!