8 Places to Go Apple Picking

Stock up on fall's favorite fruit while enjoying farm tours, autumn festivals, tractor rides and more.

Anastasiya Romanova Abwajmfyrjm Unsplash

It’s apple-picking season in the DMV, and area farms offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to escape the city bustle to cradle a bushel of Honeycrisps while taking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or to let the kids burn off back-to-school energy on jump pads and giant slides, there are options. And many of those options—here we list eight within 90 minutes of Arlington—also include cider and apple-cider doughnuts. Just sayin’.


 

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Valley View Farm

Valley View Farm

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

Come to pick the apples—and pears—and stay for the Farm Tour and Honey Tasting. The $10 admission includes a guided tour of the farm, which dates to 1731; access to Honey Bee Hill and the Honey Bee Initiative that supports George Mason University’s work to develop and sustain honey bee populations; hand feeding barnyard animals; and sampling local honey. On Sept. 19, the farm hosts the Valley View Farm Wine and Hard Cider Challenge 5k, 10k and half-marathon. Participants can rehydrate after the race with a free glass of cider, wine or mead. //1550 Leeds Manor Road, Delaplane, VA 20144, 540-592-1021


 

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Great Country Farms (Facebook photo)

Great Country Farms

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

With so much to do on this 400-acre farm—a pumpkin jumping pillow, Cow Putt Putt, mazes, slides and the Farm Ninja Course—visitors may need a reminder to head to the orchards. On the trees now are Jonafree (a combo of Golden Delicious, Jonathan and Rome Beauty), Jonagold apples (a mix of Golden Delicious and Jonathan) and Ruby John (a smaller, snackable fruit). The popular Gala variety is also available, but the website notes that Honeycrisp is all picked out. Speaking of galas, each weekend in September is the Apple Gala and Cider Fest, which buys access to the farm, cider pressing demonstrations on a press from 1865, pig races and marshmallow roasting. Apple-cider doughnuts, plus pies, cookies and scones, are for sale at the onsite Knead It Bakery. //34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, VA 20135, 540-554-2073


 

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Butler’s Orchard (Facebook photo)

Butler’s Orchard

Approximate drive time: 45 minutes

Reservations are required to pick your own fruit at this 300-plus-acre farm. The next apples are expected later this month and early next, but red raspberries, flowers, potatoes and tomatoes are ready now. The $3 reservation fee includes admission to the Farm Park, which has giant slides, farm animals and a playground. Or, hold out for the 41st Annual Pumpkin Festival, which runs Sept. 25-Oct. 31 and offers a tractor pull (new this year) along with hayrides, jump pads, and a corn-and-straw maze. To enjoy apples in all their forms, stop at the farm’s market for goodies like apple cider, apple butter and caramel apples. //22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, MD 20876, 301-428-0444


 

 

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Stribling Orchard

Stribling Orchard

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

After a 2020 that brought the pandemic, a frost that killed 98% of the crops and a fire that engulfed several buildings, this family orchard is happily welcoming visitors back this season. The sixth generation of Stribling owners invite guests to pick a variety of apples this month and next, including Gala, Macintosh, Golden Delicious and Jonathan. Bring a picnic, grab a cup of fresh apple cider (on weekends only) and give any of the resident animals a pet—if they come to the fence to say “hi”. Large groups may schedule a farm tour to learn how the family has grown fruit for 200 years. //11587 Poverty Hollow Lane, Markham, VA 22643, 540-364-3040


 

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Hollin Farms

Hollin Farms

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

Founded in the 1950s, this 1,000-acre farm situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains is offering pick-your-own Early Fuji, Wolf River, Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples right now. Though it doesn’t offer bells and whistles (no playgrounds or animals), the farm does have other u-pick options for filling the USDA’s MyPlate dietary guidelines: arugula, broccoli raab, mustard greens, radishes, kale, lettuce and potatoes. Pumpkins, too. //1524 Snowden Road, Delaplane, VA, 20144, 540-623-8854


 

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Mackintosh Fruit Farm (Facebook photo)

Mackintosh Fruit Farm

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

This year, the Shenandoah Valley farm is charging a $2/person admission fee for pick-your-own fruit, but kids 5 and younger pick for free. Right now, no appointments are necessary to pick Crimson Crisp and Criterion Apples. Asian pears and some peaches are available, too, in addition to veggies like Brussels sprouts, kale, beets and green onions. Plan on lunch here with seasonal drinks like an apple-cider float, sandwiches made with local meats and veggies, and treats, including shakes, pie and muffins. //1608 Russell Road, Berryville, VA 22611, 540-955-6225


 

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Larriland Farm

Larriland Farm

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

This farm, which has offered pick-your-own since 1973, requires a minimum purchase before you can stroll the orchards. Pay per container, rather than by weight. Currently available crops include Gala apples, tomatoes and red beets, but the farm grows 23 varieties of apples that will ripen in the coming weeks—among them, Honeycrisp, Empire, Braeburn, Pink Lady and Winecrisp. Hayrides around the property, through a stream and into a wooded area decorated with storybook characters are available on Saturdays and Sundays this fall. This year, seating is on bales, not loose straw. //2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, MD 21797, 301-854-6110


 

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Milburn Orchards

Milburn Orchards

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

This one is farther afield than the others, but you may want to stretch your boundaries for the Goga (goat yoga) sessions available on certain dates. Provided in partnership with Pura Vida Yoga and Physical Training, the classes are open to all ages. The orchard’s annual Fall Festival Weekends are open through Nov. 7 with a different theme each weekend. (For instance, celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday Sept. 24-26.) Tickets, which you must buy ahead of time online, get you access to hayrides, the Bale Trail, Boo Barn, Grain Cart Basketball and the Corn Maze Adventure. Available apple varieties include Orange Honey and September Fuji, and Asian pears make their debut this year. The farm also offers grape and raspberry picking (recommended for ages 10 and older). //1495 Appleton Road, Elkton, MD 21921, 410-398-1349


 

Categories: Food & Drink