Berry–stained lips, cut off jeans, and a basket of fresh fruit you can’t wait to bake into pies — is there anything more quintessentially summer? There’s no denying that fruit tastes just a little sweeter when you pick it yourself, which is why visiting a you-pick farm should be on your summer bucket list this year. Below are a few of our favorites across the nation, so get yourself a car and get into fruit country.
From now through early September, both clingstone and freestone peaches are ripe for the picking in New Jersey. You’ll find an abundance of farms where you can select your own peaches — check out Johnson’s Corner Farm in Burlington County to enjoy a hayride with your harvest, or venture to Terhune Orchards in Mercer County for their Just Peachy Festival on Aug 1 and 2, featuring farm to fork eats and live entertainment.
Need to escape the NYC heat? Take a day trip to the Connecticut countryside to gather some refreshing fruit — you’ll thank yourself later if you can make it last until you get back to the city. Bishop’s Orchards offers blueberries, raspberries, pears, and more, plus, come August, a spectacular sunflower maze. Jone’s Family Farm has not just fruit, but an on-site winery as well — talk about sweetening the deal.
Blackberry season may be nearing its end, but blueberries are still plentiful at Greer Farm, near Daingerfield. If you want more than a day trip, you can even stay in one of the farm’s lakeside log cabins and enjoy farm–to–fork meals as well as cooking classes. If you’re craving apples and don’t want to wait til fall, head over to Roanoke to check out Henrietta Creek Orchard, boasting six different apple varieties. Plus, meander through their pizza garden, specifically cultivated to produce tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and other herbs for a more savory kind of pie.
The entire state of California is rife with fresh fruit in the summertime. Start down south at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, where you can pick your own watermelon after a wagon tasting tour of the farm, then head to McGrath Family Farm in Ventura for some seriously sweet strawberries. Make your way up north to check out organic Crystal Bay Farm, where you’ll find berries aplenty as well as a you-pick flower field.
Though citrus season isn’t until November, English Lake Farm in Ft. Ogden does have persimmons and avocados through August. It’s hard to beat picking your own guacamole ingredients, so don’t miss your chance to select your own green gold. To venture out of the fruit family, visit Rogers Farm in Gainesville to pick your own corn and butter beans — essential for any summer BBQ.
In the hills of Berks County lies Weaver’s Orchard, a farm offering much more than pick-your-own fruit (though they have that in abundance: blueberries, nectarines, and even early peaches are a few of the current highlights). Once you’ve picked your fill, check out a cooking class to learn how to make the most of your fresh goods, or take the kids to Read ‘n’ Pick Storytime, where the little ones can enjoy a fruit-themed story before exploring the orchard.