There’s no better way to enjoy the superior taste and nutrition of local, seasonal produce than to pick it yourself. If you don’t have a garden plot of your own, take a trip out to one of the Capital Foodshed’s pick-your-own farms. And you’ll be surprised the effect PYO has on your kids. Fruits and veggies they might never otherwise try become bequiling treats when little hands pull them off the stalk, tree, or vine.
If you don’t feel like picking but still long for a little time in the coutnry, most farms also have a market table where the goods are ready to go.
Call ahead to find out what’s ready to harvest, and if you plan to bring your pooch, ask if it’s OK. Some farms welcome pets, others don’t.
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Great Country Farm
Berries, peaches, pumpkins, fall greens, summer veggies
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, VA 20135
You’ll find this 200-acre farm at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Buy fresh produce at the farm or through a CSA – or just spend the day picking your own strawberries, blueberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, pumpkins, green beans, tomatoes, okra, and more.
And the farm’s five-acre play area? In a word: awesome. Kids will love the 2800 sq ft Jumpin’ Pillow, Double Barrel slides, pedal carts, rope swings, gem mining, and mazes. Families can also get MOOOOvin on the Cow Train, visit with farm animals at the barns, and fish in the stocked pond.
Stop by the website to look into Fan of the Farm Season Passes – and be sure to check out all their upcoming events: Bluemont BBQ Bash & Blackberry Bonanza (July 28), Dog Days Peach Festival (Aug. 11 & 12), The Big Dig – Pancakes, Potatoes, Trucks & Tractors (Sept. 1 & 2), Cider Festival (Sept. 22 & 23), Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival (Sept. 29-Oct. 28), and Glow Night (3,000 pumpkins lit up, Oct. 26 & 27) are just a few.
Grelen Nursery and PYO Peaches, apples, & berries
15111 Yager Rd, Somerset, VA 22972
Dan Gregg spent his summers working on his grandparents’ 800-acre family farm in Orange, Va., about an hour south of Washington, D.C. After college and a career in banking, he returned to the family farm and started a tree nursery on 50 acres to try to make the land profitable. Eventually the family had to sell the massive homestead—but he purchased two farms 10 minutes away and got back to work.
One successful landscaping and wholesale nursery business later, Gregg is now turning his 500-acre Grelen nursery into a family-friendly destination farm with 1,000 raspberry, 6,000 blueberry, and 600 blackberry bushes ready to bear fruit this summer, along with a pick-your-own peach orchard. In 2012 he’s adding apples, Asian pears, cherries, mushrooms, and honey (presumably, that will be collected for you). Best of all, he has planted about 3,000 asparagus plants (asparagus takes its time). It will eventually be a four-season farm with tulips and peonies available in the spring, plus cut-your-own and precut Christmas trees, wreaths, and ornamental berries available during the holiday season.
Grelen is already offering master gardening classes, and it will expand its program in the coming years to include an event space for book signings, and rehearsal dinners in its formal gardens. Gregg intends to show the county that farms and open spaces can be profitable…and get some local food into your meals while he’s at it.
Hartland Farm and Green Truck Farm
Apples, cherries, & Christmas trees
3064 Hartland Ln, Markham, VA 22643
Berries & veggies
Markham, VA 22643
This farm is a two-fer, father-and-son deal. There’s Hartland Farm (apples in the fall, cherries in the summer, a corn maze, Christmas trees…), and just at the gate is Green Truck Farm. Weekends through September and October, Hartland hosts its fall festival: hayrides and other activities during weekends and school tours during the week.
Farmer Henry Green was born in Hartland’s main house. A World War II veteran, he translated radio code in an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. He worked as a chemist until 1950 when his father died, and Henry took over the farm. Henry and his wife, Cheryll, have raised pigs, sheep, chickens, cows, horses, and six children on this farm.
Carter Mountain Orchard
Peaches & apples
575 Peter Jefferson Parkway,
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Chiles Peach Orchard
Strawberries, sweet cherries, peaches, apples, & pumpkins
1351 Greenwood Rd, Crozet, VA 22932
Crooked Run Orchard
Blackberries, plums, peaches, apples, & pears
37883 East Main Street
Purcellville VA 20132
Pick blackberries, plums, peaches, apples, and pears. Call ahead for opening hours and what’s ripe.
541 Strawberry Lane, Wakefield, Virginia 23888
PYO blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Organic tomatoes & peppers, pumpkins, & Christmas trees
12801 Hazelwood Dr, Nokesville, VA 20181
Before you visit, get in touch or check out Evergreen’s Facebook page to make sure it’s a PYO and not delivery day.
Gold Hill Blueberry Farm
Berries, kiwis, pears, persimmons
12290 Daffodil Lane, Unionville, Va
This sustainable (no pesticides or herbicides are used on the fruit) farm has been in the family since 1847. In addition to fruit, Gold Hill raises Spanish Valero meat goats and sheep. Call before stopping by – PYO days are typically Fridays & Saturdays thru July.
Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery
2800 Berry Hill Road, Nellysford VA 22958
They also sell fruit wines and meads.
Veggies, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, berries, pumpkins, & flowers
11324 Pearlstone Lane
Delaplane, VA 20144
(Dogs – with leashes – are welcome.)
Liberty Mills Farm
Strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, squash, gourds, pumpkins, flowers
9166 Liberty Mills Road, Somerset, VA 22972
Mackintosh Fruit Farm
Apples, peaches, pears, berries, pawpaw, corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, & eggplant
1608 Russell Road Berryville, VA 22611
Mackintosh also cans food, sells prepared dishes, and offers cooking classes.
Pumpkins & berries
38299 Hughesville Rd, Hamilton, VA 20158
Tyler & Harriet Wegmeyer
Look into the Wegmeyer Farms PYO Club if you plan to visit frequently, but you don’t have to become a member to enjoy the farm’s offerings.
Willow Oaks Berry Farm
2521 Midland Rd, Midland, VA 22728
They ask that you don’t bring pets. If you’d rather skip the PYO part, call ahead, and they’ll have your picked berries waiting for you. They also sell jams and jellies.