Plum U-Pick Orchards in Illinois in 2023, by area of state
Keep in mind, not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have plums 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 plum orchards to pick plums. Click on the area closet you!
Plum Picking Tips, Recipes and Information
the U.S., Plums typically peak during July for Sugar Plums; August for Blue, Yellow and Red Plums. In order to produce good local
depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions, and no late frosts.
If you are looking for a plum
festival, see this page.
Before you leave to go to the farm:
Always call before you go to the farm - Plums are affected by weather
(both rain and cooler temperature) more than most crops. And when they are
in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL
early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
Some growers furnish picking containers designed for plums, but they may
charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to
If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Plums more than 14
inches deep will bruise the fruit on the bottom.
Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large
pots make good containers.
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.
You might want to ask whether the plums are! There are two major types of
plums: "Freestone" and. "Clingstone". Freestone plums
have flesh that slips easily away from the pit. Clingstones are a REAL pain,
because the fruit tenaciously clings to the stone or pit! Most plum
varieties grown today are freestone and are usually available (depending
upon your location) from June through September. Some nectarines are
freestone and some are clingstone. Freestone nectarines are available in
June and July. Most plum varieties are clingstone.
Tips on How to Pick Plums
plum is softer than most fruit, so it is important to pick a plum gently, with
little pressure. Using the sides of your fingers rather your fingertips helps to
avoid bruising. Grab the plum firmly and pull it straight off the branch.
DON'T drop the plum into the basket, but set it in gently!
2019 Orchard Plum Pricing:
Average price is
How to tell if the plums are ripe!
- Attached to the tree: Plums are best picked when the fruit
separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it
isn't ripe! Plums will not ripen further once removed from the tree (they
- Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can't use red color as
an indicator of how ripe a plum is. Different plum varieties have
differing colors, darker is usually better in any variety. Pick them when the
ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red or even blue or
purple (or a combination).
- Softness: unless you
like your plums very firm, pick your plums with just a little "give"
when gently pressed. Plums at this stage are great for eating, freezing,
and baking. Plums won't ripen very much after picking!
- Odor: It should smell sweet and ripe!
Larger plums are riper.
Sugar plums grow in clusters, so carefully select the plum you
want out of the cluster.
Place them gently in a shallow wide container, no more than
8-inches deep, to avoid
crushing the fruit.
Marks on the Plums: Bugs (particularly squash bugs and stink bugs)
bite fruit during development and this results in some imperfections in the
plum. This is especially the case with organically raised fruit. These
look like dents in the plums if the plums were bitten by a bug when they
were young. This causes a spot that does not grow properly and makes a wrinkle
in the plum. There's nothing wrong with these plums. They may look funny, but
they will taste just as good as blemish-free plums, and it's better not to
have the pesticides!
When you get home
Spread the fruit out on towels or newspapers and separate any mushy or
damaged fruit to use immediately.
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the others and
freeze them up!
- Even under ideal conditions plums will only keep for a week in a
refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible
Make preserves, can or freeze!
Easy directions, step by step, with photos
Plum dessert recipes
How much do you need?
- About 2 medium plums = 1/2 cup sliced plums.
- About 4 medium plums = 1 /2cup pureed plum.
- About 3 medium plums = 1 /2 pound of plums
Process yields (Raw amounts to processed amounts)
- 2 to 21/2 pounds of fresh plums yields 1 quart canned
- 1 lb of fresh plums typically yields 3 cups of peeled, sliced plums
or 2 cups or puree.
- It takes about 10 plums to
fill one quart jar of canned plums.
- An average of 171/2 pounds of fresh plums are needed per canner load of
- An average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
- 1 bushel = 48 to 50 pounds, yields approximately 18 to 25 quart jars.
Plums-Average retail price per pound and per cup equivalent
Plum pit tips
It's best to remove plum pits before you cook the plums. Cherry, plum,
and apricot pits also contain amygdalin; the latter two, in potentially harmful
amounts. Fortunately, plum and apricot pits are sufficiently large and hard
that few people intentionally swallow or chew them. (The unapproved anti-cancer
Laetrile is a semisynthetic derivative of amygdalin; a cheaper version of
laetrile produced in Mexico came from crushed apricot pits.)
See this page for more
- plums are virtually fat free. A medium size plum contains less than
one gram of fat.
- plums are naturally sodium free.
- plums have no cholesterol.
- plums are a low calorie snack. A medium size plum contains only 40
- plums contain vitamin A which helps us see in dim light.
- plums are considered a good source of fiber. The skin of a plum
provides both roughage and fiber.
Temporary Storage Tips
- Ripe plums have a creamy or golden undertone and "plumy-sweet"
- Plums should be refrigerated and used within a few days.
- Putting plums in a loosely closed paper bag at room
temperature for a day or two can help soften firm fruit - but they won't
become sweeter or ripen further - that stopped when they were removed from
- For best flavor, allow the fruit to ripen fully on the tree.
- Store at 33°F to 40°F and high humidity (a vegetable drawer in the