Eckert’s: A Hidden Illinois/St. Louis Gem

If you or a friend has a method of transporting yourself 30 minutes off-campus and towards Belleville, Illinois … I deeply and desperately urge you to visit Eckert’s Farm.

My friends had been to Eckert’s several times before, but this was my first time tagging along. A group of around twenty of us (basically all of my friends who were staying on-campus for the summer) split up into several different groups — clinging onto those of us who have cars — and we took a day trip to the “countryside.”

Eckert’s is just a super family-friendly place; the place is packed with parents and their ecstatic children. I don’t blame these eager kids; there’s a sunflower maze here, orchards, crop fields, and lots and lots of free hand-made jam samples.

My friends and I decided to go peach-picking and blackberry-picking. There were also opportunities for veggie picking (zucchini, corn, and eggplant were among the legumes I saw available), but we remained conservative. Not a bad decision, in the long run, because even simply picking the fruits was a long-winded adventure. There are endless rows of various types of one fruit, and amidst each row, innumerable fresh bulbs waiting to be picked. While picking, you’re also allowed to eat your fill, and I might have eaten four too many peaches.

Just one of the rows and rows of blackberry fields

In the end, you pay for what you picked by weight, and I returned home with a satisfying basket of peaches and blackberries. Those were some of the best blackberries I’d ever eaten, and the peaches were just the right mixture of tangy and sweet as well.

Another place on my bucket list to return to. I thank WashU for friends who are willing to drive me half-an-hour away and spend hours under the sun picking fruit with me.