It’s “Pick Your Own” Season for Apples and Pumpkins!
Labor Day has come and gone and it’s now time to turn our attention to the changing seasons, upcoming holidays and the perfect weather for being outdoors. Fall in Virginia is a great time to be outside with cooling temperatures, few insects, changing foliage, and ample sunshine. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that the best time to visit our state is between September 3 and October 28, which also means that’s the best time for us locals to take advantage of living here.
What better way to enjoy our area than to play the part of the farmer and reap the benefits of the harvest without having to get up with the chickens? Several local farms and orchards including Stribling Orchard, Yankey Farms, and Valley View Farm are open to the public for picking apples, pears, pumpkins, and the like. There is live entertainment provided at several, including every weekend at Stribling Orchard, but the intent is “for the families to unwind, unplug, and make memories.”
All three farms are family-owned and represent the effort involved in maintaining family-run farms in an era of commercialized farming. In order to keep the farms solvent and within the family, they turned to “pick your own” farming after World War II. Pick your own farms charge flat rates per pound, depending on the produce. Now everyone in the Piedmont can experience life on the farm in their own laid back way.
The three farms are also varied enough that it would be a great fall if you could visit all three. The eighteenth-century Stribling Farm is a beautiful setting to pick apples then picnic, gaze at the Blue Ridge, check out the farm animals, listen to music, and stock up on bakery items, honey, and cider!
At Yankey Farms, the Great Pumpkin Patch is available for self picking from the end of September to the end of October. There is also a corn maze scavenger hunt, cow train ride, hay piles, pedal tractors, and other activities for kids as well as thousands of pumpkins. You can also stock up on fresh corn and local sustainably-raised beef. Customer satisfaction is their goal and they believe they are “one of the most affordable fall events in Northern Virginia.”
Valley View Farm has been under the stewardship of the Strother family for five generations now and has become a one-stop weekend getaway. Not only do you have a great selection of apples, pears, and pumpkins to pick from this fall, but the family has recently partnered with Philip Carter Winery to open a tasting room for wine and hard cider. In addition, there is also The Orchard Branch Collection of furniture and art handcrafted by local artisans. “We are thrilled to provide a complete destination experience for customers who appreciate locally produced edible products who we refer to as Locavores.” Like Stribling Orchard, the farm was first laid out in the eighteenth century and has a connection to none other than George Washington. The site also hosts weddings, corporate events, church outings, and other celebrations. There is even a retreat house capable of sleeping 14 guests.
This fall is the time to get out of the house, away from the traffic and enjoy some quality time with family and friends before old man winter forces you indoors. Keep the doctor away by picking apples, and if you have the faith of Linus you may even find the Great Pumpkin.
Three Local Orchards
11587 Poverty Hollow Lane, Markham
Pick your own apples and pumpkins
Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays after Columbus Day
Valley View Farm
1550 Leeds Manor Road, Delaplane
Pick your own apples, pears, and pumpkins
September and October
Fridays and Sundays, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
14039 Owls Nest Road, Nokesville
Pick your own pumpkins
September 26 through November 1
Sunday - Friday: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.