Did you know you can pick FREE blueberries, grown without pesticides, right off the bushes in Tacoma? It’s true! If you haven’t discovered this not-quite-secret treasure in Tacoma, you’ll want to add it to your bucket list. It’s a great activity to do with the kids. Note-We have a few thoughts on safety concerns at the bottom of this post.
What’s better than fresh blueberries? How about fresh and free blueberries?
Charlotte’s Blueberry Park in Tacoma is a Metro Parks Tacoma property, and thanks to the efforts of volunteers, like its namesake, the late Charlotte Valbert, it’s full of thriving blueberry bushes, and the picking is free! Plus, they grow naturally-no pesticides or other gunk.
The pictures in this post are from my family’s outing last August. The picking season typically runs July-September.
We picked around half a gallon in about an hour. We probably could have gotten more if we hadn’t brought the rescue lab to help.
The boys had fun, although Henry got crabby once he realized he was working hard. When I wrote about strawberrry picking last year, my brilliant friend Traci suggested bringing some small cars to let kids play with between the bushes. Great idea, huh? We also saw lots of kids riding bikes on the path and generally running around yelling. If you’re fine with having yours out of your sight, that’s an option. Do bring sunscreen, hats, and water,if you go on one of the upcoming sunny days. There is a nice, shaded area for a picnic, but you’ll get plenty warm picking.
Several readers have suggested going to this spot Early to beat the neighborhood competition. Honestly, we found plenty mid day by going back in the middle and looking high and low. This time of year there may be fewer ripe, so an early start is probably smart (and it will be cooler).
Is It Safe?
One final note-In July of 2015 there was a shooting near this park, and more recently some readers say they have seen evidence of drug use and paraphernalia here.
Updated 2019-I haven’t been here in quite a while. I do know some neighbors of the park were just recently at the council speaking about ongoing safety concerns. A friend on Twitter let me know that she saw the impression of a handgun in the snow there this winter. I know-YIPES.
On the other hand, I know there is an active Friends group here, and MetroParks has added some new features, and safety, at the end of the day, is such a personal issue. If you have been here recently, I’d love to hear what you think!
I do have a list of other options at more traditional U Pick farms below if this isn’t a spot where you feel safe with your kiddos. If you’ve been here recently, I’d also love your input on this issue and how you felt here. I know there is a, “Friends,” group that works hard here.
Here’s a full round of places to pick blueberries in the South Sound.