Have you noticed all the good strawberry deals at the grocery store lately? And the berries have been rockin’—a perfect combo of sweet and juicy with just the slightest bit of crispiness when you take a bite. My husband told me months ago that he read it would be a good year for strawberries (something about the weather delaying harvests, giving them less time to grow, and smaller berries getting more circulation, which makes them juicier.) Anyway, if the grocery variety is that good, imagine how delicious they are straight from the farm.
Well, lucky for us, it’s strawberry-picking season. I love going out to the fields and picking produce 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.
A few area farms have already opened their fields to the public, and more are getting ready to make it official this weekend. I’ve put together a list of some good pick-your-own places, and if you have any to add, feel free to do so in the comments section. Happy Picking!
Less than 20 miles from the city in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the most popular pick-your-own places in the area. Their strawberry season started May 1, and I heard from a friend who visited today that it’s still going strong, and may even last well into June. You can stay updated on their supply by signing up for the newsletter on their website. They are open for picking from 8am – 7pm.
I’ve only been here during the fall, but if the apples and pumpkins are any indicator, their strawberries are bound to be good. And Homestead scores just as high on aesthetics as it does on its crops—the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. Their strawberry season is already underway, and they are open seven days a week from 9:30am – 6pm, though pick-your-own ends at 5:30.
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Their strawberry season has officially begun, however, the website says it’s scattered picking through May 14, and larger quantities should be ready for harvest next week. During strawberry season (which runs to late June) their hours are 8am – 6pm during the week, and 8am – 5pm on weekends.
About an hour’s drive from the city in Howard County, Larriland Farms has gotten really good reviews on Yelp for both it’s produce and beauty. Their strawberry season opens this Saturday, May 15, but they recommend calling or checking online to confirm enough berries are ripe for picking. 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, closed Mondays.
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms opened their strawberry picking season this past weekend and expects it to last through the month of May. Hours are 9am -5pm, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. And a special P.S. to meatlovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.
If you want to celebrate strawberry season, head to Huber’s Farm May 22-23 for an Old Fashioned Strawberry Festival. The farm is kicking off the start of the season with a weekend of fun—the Strawberry Express Hayride, a moon bounce, face painting, strawberry shortcake, and more. For just pick-your-own, the farm opens on May 19 , hours will be from 9am – 6pm seven days a week.
Great Country Farms
For a nice, scenic drive to your picking spot, Great Country Farms is an ideal destination. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Country offers an abundance of crops as well as a real farm experience. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. The weekends of May 29 – 31 and June 5-6 are Strawberry Jubilee U-Pick Festivals with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, and more. Perhaps the one minus: the farm charges an admission fee of $8 (kids under 2 are free). The weekends of the festival it’s $10. Open daily 9am- 6pm.