Tag Archives: Great Country Farms

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

strawberries_sash

The pick-your-own produce season starts with strawberries in the spring, then continues with more delicious fruits and veggies in the summer and fall. Heading out to the farm to do some picking is among my favorite seasonal activities with the kids. It’s a nice break from the urban bustle and a great chance to show them that food doesn’t magically appear on a plate or shelf at Trader Joe’s. Even better, the enjoyment continues with a basketful of fresh produce at home. The time is ripe for planning your own PYOP outing. Here are some great places around the area to reap some of the best treats of spring, summer, and fall. Happy Picking!

Shlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, MD, Shlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area, their season always beginning before other area farms, and because that’s the only PYO they offer. The fields are expected to open around May 1 and should yield berries until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids (and yourself) to ice cream. You can also pick up something up to cook for dinner — Shlagel also offers farm raised beef, pork, and chicken! Shlagel’s is open for PYO from 8am – 6pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
The farm in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck kicks off their PYO season in their strawberry fields in May, welcoming visitors daily. Come June, the rest of the berries (black, blue, rasp, and cherries) will become ready for picking, and peaches, nectarines, and plums won’t be far behind (see their approximate schedule here). Along with PYO, there are goats to visit and play areas for kids. Picking hours are Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm. (Update: Now open!)

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers much more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields will open in mid-late May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. Asparagus is available at the same time, and more berries, plums, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and hot peppers will follow in late spring and summer. The weekends of May 25-27 and June 1-2 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies 9-12 months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission to Great Country is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm. (Update: PYO strawberries has begun!)

Wegmeyer Farms
With three locations in Northern Virginia, Wegmeyer offers varying strawberry picking experiences as the settings differ at each. PYO at a historic homestead in Hamilton, then set up lunch at a picnic table (BYO) and let the kids play on a John Deere tractor slide and playground. At Oatlands, the patch and era-themed attire at the historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800’s, and while visiting the patch is free, you can purchase tour passes for the garden and/or mansion. And at Gilbert’s Corner, enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state; the no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. The PYO season will begin at all three locations in May. Check the website for updates, hours, and directions. (Update: Gilbert Corner & Oatlands fields now open!)

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open to the public in late May (check the website or call for an update) with access to their strawberry fields, then blueberries, peaches, brambles, apples, and paw paw. Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm and let the kids play it off on the playground. This year’s hours have yet to be confirmed, but last year they were open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am – 6pm, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season is expected to start with strawberries in late May/early June this year, and they’ll have the full spectrum of berries following soon after, just about every variety of peaches, and loads of veggies available from June – October, too. (See the list and view schedules on the website.) Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Summer hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday, expecting to start in late May. Following soon after are more berries and sugar snap and English peas. Potatoes, apples, and pumpkins come later. The Farm Park with the giant slides, a nature trail, and our farm animals can be enjoyed along with the PYO ops. And Bunnyland is still open April 27-28! Hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30am – 6pm. Admission is $3. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms strawberry picking season will begin in late May and will last several weeks. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. But, wait, the PYO doesn’t stop with strawberries! Other spring crops that you’re welcome to gather include lettuce, peas, arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard. Come summer, peaches, plums, blackberries, red raspberries, sour cherries, and summer veggies are available. Fall brings apples, home-grown Pumpkin Patch, fall vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

Green Truck Farm/Hartland Farm
Green Truck and Hartland Farms are located out I-66 less than an hour from DC (Green Truck is situated at the entrance to Hartland). Their strawberries will be ready for picking in May. The rest of their PYO offerings run the berry gamut along with tomatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins. And at Hartland, you can get berries, then peaches, apples, and pumpkins later in the year.

Homestead Farm
Homestead no longer grows strawberries, so their PYO season will begin a little later than other area farms. The first crop will be tart cherries in June, and other berries will be ripe and ready soon after. Peaches, apples, and pumpkins come later. Along with PYO, there are animals to visit (goats, pigs, and chickens), and watching the goats clamber along the goat-walk is always a trip for kids. Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. When open, the farm operates seven days a week, and PYO hours are 9am – 5pm. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email to stay up to date on their crops.

Waters Orchard
This Gaitherburg, MD, locale is a great place for apple picking come late summer and fall. The varieties are plentiful, and the scenery is lovely. After parking, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to the orchard. Last time we visited, there was a little tent set up where staff offered apple tastings and info about the apples and orchard. Hours are Fridays 12-5pm, and Saturdays & Sundays, 9am – 5pm. Pick-your-own pricing is by the peck — $15/half peck, $22/peck, $38/bushel and that includes entry fee for two. It’s $5/guest after that.

Do you have a favorite PYO farm that you don’t see here? Feel free to share in the comments, if so!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

Let me take you down, cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields

Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields



The PYOP (pick your own produce) season has begun! It starts with strawberries in the spring, then continues with more delicious fruits and veggies in the summer and fall. Heading out to the farm to do some picking is among my favorite seasonal activities with the kids. It’s a nice break from the urban bustle and a great chance to show them that food doesn’t magically appear on a shelf at Trader Joe’s or on a restaurant plate. Even better, the enjoyment continues with a basketful of fresh produce at home. The time is ripe for planning your own PYOP outing. Here are some of the area’s most popular places to reap some of the best treats of spring, summer, and fall. Happy Picking!

Schlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms — and because that’s the only PYO they offer. As of today, May 12, they are open and should be yielding berries until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids – and yourself! – to ice cream. Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
The farm in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck also opened their strawberry fields today and welcome visitors to PYO everyday through Sunday, May 17. Come June, the rest of the berries (black, blue, rasp, and cherries) will become ready for picking, and peaches, nectarines, and plums won’t be far behind (see their approximate schedule here). Along with PYO, a goat walk, cow train, hay ride, and play area are fun for kids. Picking hours are 10am – 4pm, and the farm is open 10am – 6pm.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers much more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields are expected to open the third week of May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. Asparagus is available at the same time, and more berries, plums, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and hot peppers will follow in late spring and summer. The weekends of May 23-24 and May 30-31 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies 9-12 months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Wegmeyer Farms
With three locations in Northern Virginia, Wegmeyer offers varying strawberry picking experiences as the settings differ at each. PYO at a historic homestead in Hamilton, then set up lunch at a picnic table (BYO) and let the kids play on a John Deere tractor slide and playground. At Oatlands, the patch and era-themed attire at the historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800’s, and while visiting the patch is free, you can purchase tour passes for the garden and/or mansion. And at Gilbert’s Corner, enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state; the no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. PYO should start in late May, and go well into June. Check the website for updates, hours, and direction. Bonus: Thursdays are Family Days at all three spots, and you can get a 25% discount simply by mentioning KFDC!

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open their farm to the public in late May (check the website or call for an update) with access to their strawberry fields, then blueberries, peaches, brambles, apples, and paw paw. Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm and let the kids play it off on the playground. This year they will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am – 6pm, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season in the popular pick-your-own fields opens in very late May this year (exact date still TBD). More berries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins come later. Along with PYO, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s residents. And Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. When open, the farm operates seven days a week, and PYO hours are 9am – 5pm. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email to stay up to date on their crops.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season opens in late May – early June with strawberries, and they’ll have the full spectrum of berries following soon after, just about every variety of peaches, and loads of veggies available from June – October, too. (See the list and view schedules on the website.) Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Summer hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday, expecting to start in early June. Following soon after are more berries and sugar snap and English peas. Potatoes, apples, and pumpkins come later. Picnic there and let the kids play on the slides and playground. In past strawberry seasons their hours have been 8:30am – 6pm during the week, and 8:30am – 5pm on weekends. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms will kick off its strawberry picking season in late May, and it should last several weeks after that. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. But, wait, the PYO doesn’t stop with strawberries! Other spring crops that you’re welcome to gather include lettuce, peas, arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard. Come summer, peaches, plums, blackberries, red raspberries, sour cherries, and summer veggies are available. Fall brings apples, home-grown Pumpkin Patch, fall vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

Do you have a favorite PYOP farm that you don’t see here? Feel free to share in the comments, if so!

 

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Festival, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Fall In: Festivals Galore to Celebrate this Season

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Fall is right around the corner and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to communities to cuisine to medieval times. Enjoy local art and culture, pick pumpkins and take a hayride on the farm, get a taste of local eats, time trip back to the 16th century… Most of the hoopla begins in a couple weeks, but some of the fun has started already. This list of fall festivals will help you plan for it all. And if there are any other good ones I’ve missed, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md.
When: Weekends through October 19
Admission: Thru 9/17: $17/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under

This day trip back to medieval times began in late August with a big endorsement from me as one of my very favorite annual events in the area. But it’s a must-go among fall fests, so it’s getting a plug again. You just can’t beat the amazing variety of entertainment exciting jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers and other balancing acts, jugglers, musical performances, puppetry, even a flea circus. And walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in Revel Grove, the charming location that resembles a 16th-century village, as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an immensely fun and interesting jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy. Get a glimpse of and a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, Md
When: September 6 – November 2, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, Sundays 11am – 7pm, Fridays (starting Oct 3) 5-11pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. A tip based on our experience there: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, Md.
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 20 – November 3, 10am – 5pm daily
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free

This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds spattered with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: September 6 – October 26
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under

The website promises a wonderful farm experience, and from the looks of it, they’ll make good on it. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). This year you can celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by travelling through the maze of Dorothy and Toto – costumes encouraged! The apple picking also comes highly recommended.

Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: September 13 – November 2, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9.95/weekdays, $14.95 or $16.95/holiday and weekends

This festival has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a field trip there last year.

Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: September 13, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

This free event celebrates the 17th Street Corridor and surrounding community with musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.

Adams Morgan Day Festival
Where: 18th Street NW, between Columbia and Florida Avenues
When: September 14, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities. The 36th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival offers a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. Arts on Belmont will feature original artisans and a variety of art mediums. And various stages throughout the neighborhood will showcase local live entertainment that all ages can enjoy. Details and the schedule of performances are available on the festival website.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE
When: September 20, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Fall Adventures
Where: Summers Farm
When: September 20 – November 4
Admission: $6.95/weekdays, $10.95/weekends

I have Certifikid to thank for finding out about this farm, as I read about it in a deal on admission that’s currently running. It sounds like Summers has everything one could want in autumn farm fun and then some — a pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, corn mazes, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, and more. Be sure to check the calendar for any special events going on.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, Va.
When: September 20 – November 4
Admission: $10

The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 28 – November 2, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9/weekdays, $14/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up

This festival is huge. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue that contains five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. Expect some lines, especially for the giant slide that takes you swooping down several humps over a hillside. There is also a Kiddie Zone just for little ones aged 5 and under. Be prepared for a crowd!

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
When: September 27, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo, back for another here of musical amusement. And a Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, Md
When: Saturdays & Sundays September 27 – October 25, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under

Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food cost extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

SW ArtsFest
Where: Southwest DC (several venues)
When: October 2-5
Admission: Varies by activity

This annual celebration will take place over several day this year, highlighting art and culture in Washington’s smallest quadrant, Southwest. The lineup of festivities will include the (e)merge art fair, music, theatrical performances, hand dancing, walking tours, and more. Find more details here.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms
When: September 27 – October 31, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free

Great Country is known for its awesome festivals, and the Pumpkion Harvest is no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a schedule of activities here.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds
When: September 27, 11am – 10pm & September 28, 11am – 6pm
Admission: $5, free for ages 2 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds are transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of kids activities here. This all benefits Frederick County charities.

Fall For Fairfax KidFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: October 4, 10am – 7pm & October 5, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.

Taste of DC
Where: Pennsylvania Ave., 9th – 14th Streets NW
When: October 11-12, 12-7pm
Admission: $10, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

The annual festival celebrating food, wine, and culture in the city will takes lace during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 40 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, a chili eating championship, live entertainment, and a Family Zone with fun especially for kids.

Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field
When: October 11, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

The neighborhood’s 8th annual festival will celebrate the season and the community. There will be family activities, live entertainment, local artists and vendors, food, and fun. More details and the schedule of events are available here.

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
Admission: Free

There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with a couple of different festivals taking place. The Apple Harvest Festival is October 11-12 offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 25 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, Md
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities

While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And can’t-miss caramel apples.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Take Your Pick this Strawberry Season

berries
It’s probably no surprise that strawberry season is beginning later than usual at most area farms this year after the winter we experienced. However, with pick-your-own fields open at a couple of locales and more welcoming guests this weekend, the time is ripe for planning your own outing to gather the fruits. Here are some of the area’s most popular places to reap some of the best treats of spring and summer. And if you know of other great places to pick’em, please share in the comments below. Happy Picking!

Schlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own berry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms. Their fields have been open to the public since early May and they should be open until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids – and yourself! – to ice cream. Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
Their strawberries are now ripe for the picking, and they expect them to be available for another couple of weeks (then blackberries come in!). You can pick your own on Saturdays and Sundays, and a hay wagon will transport visitors to the picking fields. A goat walk is a also fun sight for kids. The farm is open 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, and 10am – 5pm Sunday. However, picking times may be limited to be sure to check the website or call before you go.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields will open in late May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. The weekends of May 24-25 and May 31 June 1 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies four to nine months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open their farm to the in late May, hopefully with access to their strawberry fields (be sure to check the website or call for an update). Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm. Open daily from 8am – 6pm.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season in the popular pick-your-own fields opens in late May to early June this year. Along with berry picking, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s residents. Along with the fun, Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. The farm is open seven days a week from 9:30am – 6pm, though pick-your-own ends at 5:30. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email, so you can stay up to date on their crops.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season opened in early June with strawberries and spinach and is being reported as very good. Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday starting in late May or early June. In strawberry season their hours are 8:30am – 6pm during the week, and 8:30am – 5pm on weekends. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms will kick off its strawberry picking season on June 4th, and it should last several weeks after that. Hours are 9am – 5pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

 

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