Tag Archives: DC Area Berry Picking

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

Kicking off strawberry season at Schlagel Farms

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!

MARYLAND

Shlagel Farms | Waldorf, MD
Less than 20 miles from DC, Shlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area, their season always beginning before other area farms,. The fields usually yield strawberries until early June. That used to be their only PYO offering, but they now have blackberries well into summer, too.  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 10am – 5pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.  Pick Your Own has started for the 2024 season!

Swann Farms | Lower Marlboro, MD
Another early opener, Swann sounds like a good “pick” for a PYO outing. They have acres of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries available late April through August, in that order. Pricing is $7/quart $25/gallon bucket. Note that they do not allow outside containers to be brought onto the farm, unless it’s the gallon bucket previously purchased there. Stay updated on their status by following their Facebook page. Pick Your Own has started for the 2024 season!

Larriland Farm |Woodbine, MD
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both its 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. Apple picking usually begins late August with Honey Crisps. (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 | Germantown, MD
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. Hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30am – 6pm. Admission is $4. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Gormans Farm | Laurel, MD
A newer addition here that I discovered while doing a Google search for something else.  Gorman Farms is relatively close to DC, just a 30 minute drive from away in Laurel.  Their pick-your-own ops are just for strawberries, and they begin in May — you can stay updated through their Facebook page.  Once picking starts, they are open daily, as long as weather permits and berries are available.  Weekends, apparently, can get very busy, so if you can swing a weekday visit, it’s recommended.  Picking hours are 10am – 6pm weekdays, 10am – 4pm on weekends and holidays.

Homestead Farm | Poolesville, MD
Homestead no longer grows strawberries, so their PYO season begins 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 | Gaithersburg, MD
This Gaithersburg, 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.

 

Blackberry picking at Homestead Farm

 

VIRGINIA

Yankee Farms | Bristol, VA
I just learned about this far when i Wa looking for strawberry picking that had already begun.  The farm has three locations, but the pick-you-own strawberry patch is in Bristol, and it just opened to the public this week and runs until ealry to mid June.  Reservations are required for picking on Saturdays and Memorial Day, but walks-in are welcome every other day.  Be sure to check their Facebook page to stay updated on any closures or specials — in anticipation of rain, they could be offering a discount to encourage picking ahead of bad weather. Walk-in hours are Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm .

Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
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 20-21 and May 27-29 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Apple season begins in late summer and goes into fall, and with it comes the Apple Gala and Cider Fest. Admission to Great Country is $10/child $12/adult on weekdays, and goes up a couple  bucks on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Wegmeyer Farms | Loudon County, VA
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 1800s.  You can also 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. Check the website for updates, hours, and directions.  Get a discount on admission/berries! Picking reservations are available through the website the night before.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm | Berryville, VA
If it’s located in Berryville, that’s got to be a good sign, right?  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. Hours are 8am – 6pm, Wednesday through Sunday, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Hollin Farms | Delaplane, VA
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms’ usually begins strawberry picking season in late May and last several weeks.  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. Apples are ready late summer, and fall brings the Pumpkin Patch, autumn vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open.

Green Truck Farm/Hartland Farm | Markham, VA
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 April 28. 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. Pick Your Own has started for the 2024 season!

 

The apple of his eye at Waters Orchard 🍎

 

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