Raspberry U-Pick at Tome Berry Farms
During the fall harvest season, raspberries are a big source of u-pick lovers in the Albuquerque area. And though Heidi's is right up the road, Tome Berry Farm in Tome is an alternative location where you can get the berries you need for the season. The farm offers visitors the chance to pick the red jewels, or for those who have neither the time nor the inclination, the chance to pick them up already boxed and take them home.
We were fortunate to meet Mike Conant, one of the owners, the day we went to get fruit. He said the bushes had been put in about four years prior, in 2011, and they had been thriving ever since.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Sale
The farm has almost one acre planted in raspberries, three varieties, none of which are Heritage, the variety found at Heidi's Farm. Each variety is delicious. Behind the raspberry patch to the east is the blackberry patch, and an orchard.
Pulling up to the farm, you'll find a truck that serves as the cash register area as well as a place to pick up other items grown on the farm. During harvest season, you'll likely find eggplant, squash, bell peppers of different colors, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, beets and more. Veggies are sold by the item or by the pound, depending on what you choose. During our visit, there were eggplants, many kinds of peppers to include chiles, and tomatoes. Earlier in the summer, you'll find blackberries if it's been a kind year for the fruit.
The small farmstand also sells packaged teas, hot choclate, bottled water, coffee, and smoothie mixes. Another item sold is honey.
For the most part, people come to pick the berries, and the day we went in late summer, there were plenty of them. Pick up a bucket and wander up and down the rows to get some of the fruit. Rows are well tended and there is a lot of space between bushes, so even if a crowd is there, you'll have room to pick.
Raspberries you pick yourself are $7 per pound. Those picked for you are $9 per pound. A clamshell of berries (2 cups or 8 oz.) is $4.50.
The berries are pesticide free. Going up and down the rows, you can see the bug traps that have been put out to keep from having to spray for bugs. I appreciate getting berries that haven't been doused in chemicals, as berries have a propensity to take the chemicals in, making it nearly impossible to wash them off. I prefer not to have chemicals in my fruits and jams, don't you?
The farm is a great place to take kids, who can enjoy the process of picking and tasting, and learning where their food comes from.
For those who love bees, or the honey they make, the farm has an apiary in the back which is maintained by a professional beekeeper. For anyone who is not familiar with bees, it's informative to have beehives within viewing distance, just to see what they may look like. There were three Langstroth hives there the day we visited, and the bees were busy and happy. Those allergic to bee stings might want to stay further away from the hives, but the bees in the hive looked extremely docile.
Honey is sold at the farm for $9 for a small jar, or $12 for a large one.
Make a morning of visiting the farm, or take a few hours in the afternoon to visit the beautiful agricultural area of Valencia county that is Tome. For those without children in tow, consider visiting Camino Real Winery just a little further north on the same road.