Area orchards

07/24/2010 12:00 AM

07/24/2010 12:03 AM

Here are places that grow fruit for sale and, in some cases, let you pick it. Call ahead for availability and times to pick.

* Entz Orchard, 8604 S. Webb Road, Newton, 316-799-2515. Pick-your-own peaches in July and August and pick-your-own apples in August and September.

* Beck Orchard, 7620 S. Anderson Road, Newton, 316-282-2325. Pre-picked peaches and blackberries, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. Take I-135 north of Wichita to Exit 25 (Whitewater) and go 1 mile west.

* Blackberry Heaven, 1870 S.W. Santa Fe Lake Road, Towanda, 316-541-2729. Pick-your-own blackberries (pre-picked also available) and jams. Open 8 a.m. to dark every day from mid-July through the first of September.

* Regier Farm & Orchard, 12249 N.W. Meadowlark Road, Whitewater, 316-799-2025. Pick-your-own apples, pears and peaches, as well as some pre-picked; also blackberries, and plums at the end of July (and pick-your-own cherries in June).

* Sargeant's Berry Farm, 9836 S. Hydraulic, Haysville, 316-788-1370. Pick-your-own and pre-picked peaches and blackberries, as well as cantaloupe, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and okra.

* Steffen Orchard, 1345 W. 90th Ave. North, Conway Springs, 620-456-2706. Pick-your-own peaches and pre-picked and pick-your-own apples.

* Triple R Orchard, 7570 N. 159th St., Benton, 316-992-4080. Pre-picked peaches and nectarines, available in Wichita farmers markets.

When the time is ripe

* Peaches. As a peach ripens, the part facing the sun gets a reddish blush and the part not exposed to the sun(ground color) turns from green to yellow. Look for the yellow ground color. Some varieties will have a slight green color to the background even when the peach is ready to pick. The peach will also have medium-soft flesh and will smell like a peach.

* Pears. Do not allow them to fully mature on the tree or they will have a gritty texture. Pick when fruit color changes from dark green to yellowish green, and when they develop a pear aroma and taste. They can be refrigerated after harvest, then removed a few at a time and allowed to ripen at room temperature.

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