Where to pick your own summer fruits, veggies in the DC area

WASHINGTON — Nothing kicks off summer quite like a basket full of freshly picked berries. (Can’t you just smell the pies and crumbles baking in the oven?) And in the D.C. area, there are plenty of pick-your-own farms and orchards to satisfy that seasonal experience.

D.C.-based travel and parenting writer Guiomar Ochoa shares some of her favorites:

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017, photo, Tyler Wegmeyer, owner of Wegmeyer Farms, picks strawberries in the pick-your-own strawberry patch at Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Va. Hiring summer workers is one of Wegmeyer's biggest problems. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Butler’s Orchard Conveniently located off Interstate 270 in Germantown, Maryland, is Butler’s Orchard, a popular destination in the fall for apples, pumpkins and Christmas trees. But mid-May through June, it’s all about the strawberries. D.C.-based travel and parenting writer Guiomar Ochoa said Butler’s is especially great for school field trips, as she discovered on a recent outing with her son’s class. Kids can learn how food is grown (surprise: it doesn’t come from the supermarket), how honey is made and more. In mid-June, black raspberries, tart cherries and sugar-snap peas will be ready to pick. July and August usher in blueberries, blackberries and red raspberries. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Tart cherries hang from a tree Monday, June 29, 2009, in Brookfield, Wis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Wisconsin will produce 8.3 million pounds of cherries following last year's disaster when the crop yielded just 600,000 pounds after a drought and cold weather weakened trees. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Milburn Orchards Elkton, Maryland, is home to Milburn Orchards, which opens for pick-your-own fruit in June when tart cherries are ripe and ready. If your fruit-picking party includes little kids with short attention spans, Ochoa said Milburn’s Big Backyard play area is perfect for getting the wiggles out. In the mood for a festival? Summer’s cherry, blueberry, blackberry, peach and raspberry harvest parties (all separate events) start with a celebratory pancake breakfast. (Associated Press/Morry Gash) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Morry Gash)
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2017 file photo, a girl holds a handful of wild blueberries picked near Sherman, Maine. A Maine congressman says he plans to go forward with a proposal to include frozen and canned foods in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program despite criticism from the program’s founder. The 2018 proposal by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is part of the federal Farm Bill that’s wending its way through approvals.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
Catoctin Mountain Orchard “This place is best known for its apple picking, but in the last couple of years, they’ve also done pick-your-own summer fruits,” Ochoa said. Entrance into the Thurmont, Maryland, pick-your-own orchard ($2) includes a wagon ride. During the summer, black raspberries, dark sweet cherries and blueberries are available. Come September, apple season starts back up. There’s also a bakery on site. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty) (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
21 month-old Natalie Solomon tastes a fresh strawberry as she and her dad Jon pick fresh berries together from the field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Mackintosh Fruit Farm About an hour from Northern Virginia is Mackintosh Farm in Berryville, Virginia. Ochoa said they have a pick-your-own section of the farm that includes all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. “And they’re pretty close to the Shenandoah Valley, so it’s just a really pretty area to have a picnic and just relax if you want to get out of the city,” she said. (AP/Gerry Broome) (AP/Gerry Broome)
In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017, photo, Ben Testa, 19, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, arrives for his summer job at Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Va. Summer jobs are vanishing as U.S. teens spend more time in school and face competition from older workers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Wegmeyer Farms Attention all strawberry aficionados: If you are looking for an authentic picking experience, Wegmeyer is the place to go. The website provides daily updates on picking conditions and lets visitors know which fields have the best berries. If you prefer to bypass the picking and go straight for the eating, Wegmeyer sells its already picked produce on site. “So if there’s a temper tantrum going on, you can always just duck and go to their farmers markets, and I know so many of us have dealt with that,” Ochoa said. (AP/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
A basket of fresh picked strawberries are shown in the berry field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. Owner David Oakley has roughly 26,000 strawberry plants to harvest from his field. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Great Country Farms Great Country Farms is another spot packed with play areas and activities for families with young kids. Visitors can tour the farm on a wagon ride, meander through mazes and, of course, pick fresh fruit. “They have festivals throughout the summer; they have live music, pie-eating contests, and just tons of different you-pick experiences that you can go to throughout the entire summer,” Ochoa said. (AP/Gerry Broome) (AP/Gerry Broome)
A basket of fresh picked strawberries are shown in the berry field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. Owner David Oakley has roughly 26,000 strawberry plants to harvest from his field. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Southern Comfort Berry Farm Just “a bit further outside” the DMV is Southern Comfort Berry Farm in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Ochoa said the farm has more than 9,000 strawberry plants. There are also horses, donkeys and other farm animals. (AP/Gerry Broome)
** FOR USE WITH AP WEEKLY FEATURES **    Wild blackberries are a delicious but delicate crop, a favorite food of man and animals. Pick the berries as they ripen on the canes, soft to the touch and almost ready to fall into your hand. Berries with any red still in them are acidic and will taste tart. Leave them for another day. (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)
Crooked Run Orchard Visitors will find plenty of veggies, plums and cherries at Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville, Virginia. In the summer, expect summer apples, peaches, blackberries, gooseberries, cherries and lots of herbs. (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/DEAN FOSDICK)
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In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017, photo, Tyler Wegmeyer, owner of Wegmeyer Farms, picks strawberries in the pick-your-own strawberry patch at Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Va. Hiring summer workers is one of Wegmeyer's biggest problems. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Tart cherries hang from a tree Monday, June 29, 2009, in Brookfield, Wis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Wisconsin will produce 8.3 million pounds of cherries following last year's disaster when the crop yielded just 600,000 pounds after a drought and cold weather weakened trees. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2017 file photo, a girl holds a handful of wild blueberries picked near Sherman, Maine. A Maine congressman says he plans to go forward with a proposal to include frozen and canned foods in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program despite criticism from the program’s founder. The 2018 proposal by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is part of the federal Farm Bill that’s wending its way through approvals.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
21 month-old Natalie Solomon tastes a fresh strawberry as she and her dad Jon pick fresh berries together from the field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017, photo, Ben Testa, 19, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, arrives for his summer job at Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Va. Summer jobs are vanishing as U.S. teens spend more time in school and face competition from older workers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A basket of fresh picked strawberries are shown in the berry field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. Owner David Oakley has roughly 26,000 strawberry plants to harvest from his field. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A basket of fresh picked strawberries are shown in the berry field at Oakley Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 2, 2013. The season is ripe for picking fresh strawberries in some parts of North Carolina, one of the largest strawberry producing states in the country. Owner David Oakley has roughly 26,000 strawberry plants to harvest from his field. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
** FOR USE WITH AP WEEKLY FEATURES **    Wild blackberries are a delicious but delicate crop, a favorite food of man and animals. Pick the berries as they ripen on the canes, soft to the touch and almost ready to fall into your hand. Berries with any red still in them are acidic and will taste tart. Leave them for another day. (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)

 


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