Freshness is always in season at Triple B Farms in Monongahela

corn12Sticker shock. Though it happens when looking at new cars, there is a more common arena in life where it’s more prevalent – the grocery store. Small containers of berries, usually trucked in from out of state, can command prices ranging from $4 or $5 and up. Apples, peaches, corn, and more also cause one to swallow hard when deciding to pay the price. Freshness is compromised by shipping, and many a consumer has been dismayed to discover mold on their pricey produce the next day after purchase.

And taking the whole family to the grocery store for a shopping trip? Oy, what a headache.

The good news is, there is place to avoid sub-par produce while having a grand time with the entire family, and Triple B Farms, at 823 Berry Lane in Monongahela, is pleased to be that place.

Triple B’s berries, apples, peaches, corn, and much more are produced on location, as is fresh honey from their own hives. It’s easy to walk in and pick up something fresh and delicious, such as seasonal fruits, pies, jams, jellies, homemade fudge, and other delectables, but it’s during picking season where family fun on the farm comes into play.

Pop’s FarmYard, open on weekends during all picking seasons, provides plenty of fun – such as tube slides, jumping pillows, and rope maze, to name a few activities – along with Education Acres, where everyone can learn about agriculture in an entertaining, hands-on atmosphere.

“We do special (pancake) breakfasts and have a farmyard activity area where everybody plays together, and for adults and children to enjoy together,” said Suzanne Beinlich, who helps manage the market. The operation is owned and run by the Beinlich family, who have made it the family friendly location it is today. “If it’s a nice day, people enjoy getting out together as a family, and healthy, fresh food is a good thing now, and people enjoy doing that,” Beinlich said.

Triple B Farms provides agriculturally themed children’s books and toys to go along with education, Beinlich said. “One of the things we provide during the spring field trip is we teach (kids) to plant in a plastic glove, and once it sprouts they can remove the seeds and plant it and watch it grow.”

Picking seasons vary with crops, with berries in full swing now, and peaches, apples, and pumpkins available in the not too distant future. Head right in to Triple B and turn left to get started picking your own. In addition to having the freshest fruit picked by your own hand, saving money in the process is another plus. “Generally speaking, when you’re doing the labor, you’re saving some amount (over store bought) and that’s the idea behind pick your own crop,” Beinlich said, adding “and it’s a family activity everybody likes to do together. And you learn where your food comes from and how it grows”

Picking hours are limited generally from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., because, as Beinlich notes, “ripe fruit should be picked in the morning hours, because later when it gets warm, it’s getting soft, and by the time you get it home it has made its own jelly. We want you to have fresh fruit you can enjoy in the next 24 – 48 hours.”

Triple B Farms offers seasonal tours which focus on various growing season stages. In the spring it’s planting and growing, while in the fall it’s harvesting and storing crops. It’s the summer season, however, when visitors not only learn how bees pollinate crops and fruit, but they can view bees hard at work at a real hive built with Plexiglass.

No southwest Pennsylvania cookout would be complete without fresh corn, and Triple B Farms is known to have the sweetest around. Starting in July and through September is the best time to get corn on the cob, and Beinlich offers an important cooking tip: “Don’t overcook your corn. 2 – 3 minutes in boiling water is all you need because it’s already so sweet that, if you cook it longer, you’re cooking the tenderness and sweetness right out of it.”

Beinlich advises checking the web site ahead of time for updated crop picking availability. “I realize we’re a destination, so it makes sense to call ahead so you’re not disappointed when you get here.” However, Triple B Farms is always stocked with fresh food even when picking season isn’t in full swing.

Visit Triple B Farms at triplebfarms.com/ to learn more about upcoming events and festivals, growing season, picking seasons, and much more. Or, call ahead to check picking availability at 724-258-3557.

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer for Pennsylvania Bridges