Grocery shopping is so much better when you can hand-pick your food yourself while breathing in some fresh mountain air. Pick-your-own farms are scattered all over the Blue Ridge, waiting to be explored by those looking for organic produce and a fun day in the sun. It’s a fantastic way for families to spend time outside and drive away with some of the tastiest produce in the region. Here are 10 farms where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables in the Blue Ridge, starting in the summer and heading into the fall.
Chiles Family Peach Orchard
Peach season is upon us, which means they’re ripe and ready at Virginia’s Chiles Family Orchard. During the summer, visitors can venture to the orchard, located just outside Charlottesville, to pick peaches, blueberries, and strawberries, and come fall, it’s full of ripe apples and pumpkins. While you’re there, stop by the Farm Market and Bakery for ice cream, donuts, ready-picked produce, jarred sauces and jams, baking products, and other gift shop items. The orchard hosts a farmer’s market each Wednesday and weekend pancake breakfasts. Guests can enjoy all the property has to offer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. To plan your trip, visit chilesfamilyorchards.com/chiles-peach-orchard.
Bee Sweet Orchards
With 15 varieties of peaches and nine varieties of apples, Bee Sweet Orchards is a great spot for finding delicious fruit on a small family farm. Pre-picked peaches and nectarines are currently available, and guests are welcome to join in during apple picking season from mid-July through late August. During this time, the orchard will be open for picking 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. To learn when different apple varieties will be picked, visit beesweetorchards.com.
This family-owned apple orchard grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, but the real showstopper is over 10 acres of sunflowers that bloom in early August. Also available for picking from May to November are strawberries, blueberries, pears, and pumpkins. The property includes a café, gift shop, and play area with slides, swings, mazes, pony rides, and more. But the best part about this orchard is that it’s dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pup to the fields. You can find Evans Orchard’s events and crop calendars on evansorchard.com.
Buffalo Trail Orchard
Buffalo Trail Orchard is located in eastern Tennessee, about a 20-minute drive from the North Carolina state line. This farm’s picking seasons include blackberries in June, blueberries and peaches in July, and apples in the fall. Guests can also pick their own pumpkins straight from the patch and hop on a hayride around the farm, all while surrounded by stunning mountain views. Hours change with the season, so call ahead to find out when to schedule your visit. To find out what’s in season on the farm, check out Buffalo Trail’s online calendar.
Cherry Hill Orchards
With over 100 varieties of fruit, Cherry Hill Orchards knows a thing or two about growing delicious produce. During picking season, visitors can fill up their buckets with cherries, blackberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins on Monday through Saturday. But don’t fret if you get a hankering for fresh produce during the off-season. Cherry Hill’s farmers’ market is open every day of the year. And while you’re there, be sure to check out the garden center and bakery on the property. To learn more, go to cherryhillorchards.com.
Blue Ridge, Ga.
Located in the mountain town of Blue Ridge, just 90 miles from Atlanta, Mercier Orchards is the largest apple orchard in the Southeast. Visitors to the farm can pick ripe strawberries in May, blueberries in June, blackberries in July, and apples from August through October. Be sure to check out the farm’s tractor tours and pay a visit to Mercier’s Bakery for one of their famous fried fruit pies (apple is a crowd favorite). Adults can also visit the orchard’s winery and tasting room to try Georgia’s first hard apple cider made from their very own apples. The orchard is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., even during the off-season. Check out mercier-orchards.com to learn more.
White Oak Lavender & The Purple WOLF Vineyard
What better way to relax than by visiting a lavender farm? This Shenandoah gem is a combination farm and vineyard with much to offer. In addition to picking their own lavender surrounded by rolling hills, guests can also check out the wine tasting room and shop for lavender-infused wines, oils, spices, and more. The farm also has its own Discovery Area with farm animals, a labyrinth, distillery, and more. They are open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, go to whiteoaklavender.com.
For some of the best grape picking in Virginia, take a trip to Wenger Grape Farms. Known for their Concord and Niagara grapes, this small family farm in the Shenandoah Valley has been growing grapes for 83 years. The farm is open for picking Monday through Saturday beginning in late August and through the end of September. The picking day starts at 8 a.m. and lasts until dark. To learn more check out wengergrapes.com.
Just a 50-minute drive outside D.C., Butler’s Orchard has something for the whole family. According to their crop calendar, you can make a reservation to pick your own blueberries, black raspberries, raspberries, tomatoes, flowers, apples, and more through the summer. Visitors can also look forward to pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in November and December. While you’re there, stop by the Farm Market for fresh pre-picked produce and gift shop items. Kids will love the Farm Park on the property, which includes giant slides, farm animals, and a playground. You can also grab a bite to eat at the Farmer’s Porch Kitchen restaurant. Picking reservations are available for Tuesday through Saturday and can be made on butlersorchard.com.
Herndon Hills Farm
Go ahead and make an appointment to pick fruit at Herndon Hills soon. All their crops are pick-your-own! This farm has been growing blueberries, blackberries, and grapes for over 200 years. Blueberries and blackberries are usually available on the farm from June through mid-July, and grape season begins in August and usually lasts through October. The farm also harvests their own honey, which does not require a reservation and is available for pickup. For more information visit herndonhillsfarm.com.
Cover photo by Mario Mendez, courtesy of Unsplash.