Find a local pick your own farm here!

Currant U-Pick Orchards in Washington in 2024, by area of state

Keep in mind, not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have currants orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

These are the areas of the state that have currant orchards to pick currants. Click on the area closet you!

 

Currants

Currants Picking Tips, Recipes and Information

red and black currants

If you are about to pick currants either directly from a bush or from a local orchard or market, here's what you need to know to pick the best currants.

Currants are a fairly early crop, flowering soon after the last frosts in April and May, setting fruit in June, usually at the same time as strawberries in most areas (but check your area's harvest calendar and call the farm or orchard you are planning to go to a few weeks ahead).

Currants picking tips

When:

  • Currants are typically ripe and ready for picking in the summer months, usually from late June to early August, depending on your location and the specific variety.
  • Early morning is often the best time to pick currants. The berries are less likely to be stressed by the heat of the day, and they'll be at their juiciest.
  • Try to avoid picking currants when they're wet from rain or dew. Moisture can cause the berries to deteriorate quickly and become moldy.
  • Currant bushes can produce berries over a period of a few weeks. Check the bushes every couple of days to pick ripe berries and prevent overripening.currants

How:

  • Make sure your hands are clean before you start picking to avoid transferring dirt or contaminants to the berries.
  • Look for currant clusters that have plump, fully-colored berries. They should be slightly translucent and have a vibrant hue. Avoid berries that are underripe or overly soft.
  • Hold the currant cluster gently but firmly, and use your other hand to pick the berries. Currants are delicate, so avoid pulling or tugging forcefully, as this can damage the branches.
  • Proper Technique: Pinch the stem between your thumb and forefinger, then roll your fingers to detach the berries. This helps to prevent damaging the stem or the fruit.
  • Leave some space between your fingers to prevent squishing the berries while you pick. Currants are small and can be easily damaged if you're not careful.
  • Ripe currants should come off the stem with minimal effort. If you find yourself having to tug hard to detach a berry, it might not be fully ripe yet.
  • While picking, keep an eye out for any signs of pests like aphids or caterpillars. Remove any infested berries to prevent spreading the issue.
  • Use shallow containers, baskets, or colanders to collect the berries. This helps prevent crushing them under their own weight.
  • Don't overfill your containers or try to pack the currants down.
  • Respect the Plant. Be mindful not to damage the plant while you're picking. Avoid breaking branches or causing unnecessary stress to the bush.

After picking:Black currants

  • After picking, gently transfer the currants into shallow containers or bags. Store them in the refrigerator as soon as possible to maintain freshness. Currants can also be frozen for longer storage.
  • Avoid placing the picked currants in the sunshine any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat.
  • Cool them as soon as possible after picking. Currants may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for two or three days, depending upon the initial quality of the berry.
  • Currants have a short shelf life compared to some other fruits, so plan to use or preserve them within a few days of picking.
  • Remember that the specific techniques and tips may vary slightly based on the type of currants you are picking (red, black, or white currants), so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the particular variety you're working with.

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm - Currants are affected by weather (especially rain and cooler temperatures) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first! Always call before you go to the farm - Currants are affected by weather (especially rain and cooler temperatures) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
  2. Leave early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
  3. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for Currants, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
    If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Currants more than 3 inches deep will smush the lower currants. Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one at right.
  4. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.

When you get home

  1. DON'T wash the currants until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
  2. Currants are more perishable than blueberries or strawberries, so make a point of refrigerating them as immediately as possible after purchase. Temperatures between 34 F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze currants! (Fresh currants are highly prone to freeze damage).
  3. Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting currants
  4. Even under ideal conditions currants will only keep for a few days in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, consume or freeze them as soon as possible after purchase.
  5. See my How to freeze berries page. (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
  6. Now, get ready to make Currants jam - It is VERY easy - especially with our free Currants preserves instructions - illustrated and easy or cherry pie filling

Currants Recipes, Canning, Jam, Jelly, and related resources

Currants varietiesred currants

Here is a description of each type of currant

Red Currants:

  • Small, round berries that are translucent and bright red when ripe.
  • Tangy and slightly tart flavor, often used in jams, jellies, sauces, and desserts.
  • Typically grow in clusters on deciduous shrubs.
  • Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes due to their tartness.
  • Suitable for fresh consumption when fully ripe, but their intense flavor may be an acquired taste for some.

  

Black Currants:

  • Small, round berries that are dark purple to black when ripe.Black currants
  • Distinctly strong, sweet-tart flavor with earthy undertones.
  • Often used in jams, juices, syrups, desserts, and even alcoholic beverages.
  • Grow in clusters on woody shrubs with distinctive five-lobed leaves.
  • High in vitamin C, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds.
  • Considered to have potential health benefits due to their nutritional profile.
  • The strong flavor can be polarizing, and some people might find it overpowering.

 

 

White Currants:

  • Similar in size and shape to red currants but are translucent to pale yellow or pink when ripe.white currants
  • Delicate and sweet with a mild, fruity flavor.
  • Used in jams, jellies, preserves, and for fresh consumption, especially as a garnish.
  • Grow in clusters on shrubs and are less common than red or black currants.
  • Sometimes referred to as "albino currants" due to their light color.
  • Lower in acidity compared to red and black currants, making them a milder option for those who prefer less tart flavors.
  • Because of their light color, they can add an elegant touch to dishes and presentations.
Remember that the specific taste and uses of each type of currant can vary based on factors such as growing conditions and individual preferences..

 

 

Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)