If you’re craving a sweet adventure with an even sweeter reward, then load up the family for a trip to a pick-your-own-produce farm this summer. U-pick farms not only provide plenty of exercise and lots of fresh country air, but also delicious ruby red strawberries, nutritious blueberries, juicy peaches and crunchy apples to take home for your efforts. Philadelphia is surrounded by some of the most fertile farmland in the country. The Garden State of New Jersey is known for its tomatoes and blueberries, while southeastern Pennsylvania takes the prize for apples and peaches. So check out these top u-pick Philadelphia-area farms that really bear fruit.
100 Marshallton-Thorndale Road
West Chester, PA 19380
Register at the farm market, select the size container you want for picking, prepay for your fruit and receive directions to the field. That’s how it works at the efficient Highland Orchards. June 5th was the 2014 start date for strawberry picking, and apple picking has started and is ongoing. Lodi apples are ripe for the picking, with Summer Rambo and Molly Delicious ready on August 14 and Ginger Gold good to go on August 20. In addition to hayrides, a playground and a barnyard full of animals, Highlands has a farm market that sells some of the best homemade fruit pies in the state.
Johnson’s Corner Farm
133 Church Road
Medford, NJ 08055
Join Johnson’s Corner Farm during the blueberry harvest for loads of family fun. Blueberry-picking hayrides run from the beginning of July through the first week in August. After working in the hot sun, riders can cool off in the farm’s splash pad, then head to the Discovery Barnyard play area and Animal Farm. Sweet corn, peach and nectarine enthusiasts can pick until the cows come home from the beginning of July through the entire month of August.
6 Spangler Drive
Bernville, PA 19506
For the best organic u-pick fruit in southeastern Pennsylvania, head to Myers Orchards in Bernville for red raspberries and blackberries. The farm does not use pesticides or commercial fertilizers on its crops. While those who are allergic to bee stings should stay clear of Myers, its lovely bucolic setting, friendly goats and reasonable prices give this farm a top rating. Bring your own containers, and call before taking the drive out there.
Penn Vermont Fruit Farm
Route 113 and Rolling Hills Road
Bedminster, PA 18910
It may be a little tricky to get to, but the scenic drive is worth the trip. Ken and Judy Bupp have owned and operated this rural 58-acre farm since 1982 and really have the whole u-pick process down to an art. Plenty of signage shows pickers what’s in season, where to get a basket and where to go to find the juiciest strawberries, blackberries, black raspberries and red raspberries – whatever is in season. For more fresh produce, head to the farm’s market, where you can purchase apples, peaches, pears, cantaloupes, corn, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.
330 Cold Soil Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Make Terhune Orchards an annual family affair. Strawberries, cherries and blueberries are popular June picks, but there’s still time in July to pick blackberries. Peaches are good in August, and apples, pumpkins and gourds make the scene in September and October. If you tire before you pick your fill, head to Terhune’s farm store. It brims over with fresh fruits and vegetables, including everything from apples and arugula to raspberries and zucchini, and homemade pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and breads bursting with fruit fill the shelves. A kids’ Read & Pick program, a barnyard of animals, winery, walking trail, wagon rides, pony rides and special events add to the fun. Call ahead for produce availability.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.