Between rows and rows of green sit red juicy morsels, glistening in the gentle September sunlight, sweetening as the cool evening air comes over Farmer McBride’s Briar Patch.
McBride’s raspberry and blackberry patch, at 1849 S. 2100 West in Mapleton, has only a few weeks left in its raspberry harvest. The pick-your-own raspberry patch opens every year in mid-August and offers customers all the raspberries they can pick for only three dollars a pound.
There are several pick-it-yourself farms in the local farmers’ community, but the McBrides are seeing a lot of traffic.
“News travels just kind of by word of mouth,” said Joyce McBride, one of the farm owners. “I think we’ve been letting people come pick for about seven years. It’s gotten crazy these past couple of years.”
[media-credit name=”Kenneth Baldwin” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]The McBrides also have a Facebook page with nearly 500 subscribers. The briar patch seems to be a favorite local secret.
“We have some people come out just for therapy,” Joyce said.
Some of their customers make it a point to come back weekly to escape the chaos of everyday life in the city. With the expanse of raspberry plants, it’s not hard to spend well over an hour or two walking up and down the rows looking for berries. The sounds of the freeway are just faint enough to forget about.
The briar patch also is a popular date destination. In fact, when a couple comes, Wayne McBride, Joyce’s husband, encourages the men to pick some flowers for their companion from their garden in front, free of charge.
“I thought that McBride’s was a perfect date location,” Paul Fiske, a senior at BYU said. “It was just far enough to be adventurous but close enough for a spur-of-the-moment idea.”
Wayne McBride is more than happy to have couples and young people visiting.
“We try to make it nice for people,” said Wayne. “There’s a place for them to sit, wash their hands and their buckets. We even have a lavatory.”
Wayne is particularly proud of his crop and is ready to teach all newcomers how to find and pick the best berries on the property. He even encourages his customers to taste as they go so they can identify which, out of the several breeds of raspberries on his property, they prefer.
[media-credit name=”Kenneth Baldwin” align=”alignleft” width=”199″][/media-credit]”They’re a cool-weather berry,” Wayne said. “The cooler it gets, the faster they bloom and the more sugar they get into them. As the nights get cooler the berries get better and better.”
The recent cooler weather has given the berry crop an impressive yield. It doesn’t take customers long to collect several pounds of crop.
“Labor Day we had the most . . . people we’ve ever had,” Wayne said. “The picking was the best we’ve ever seen. There were people in every row coming back with beautiful berries. This has been an exceptional year.”