5 Great Farms Where You Can Pick Your Own Produce

To walk in a grove and handpick a piece of fruit right off the tree is a simple yet unique pleasure. The activity can create lifelong memories, spark an interest in local agriculture, and encourage an appreciation for the natural world. In no particular order, here are some noteworthy farms where one may take home a personal harvest.

Entering the list at #1, Kiyokawa Family Orchards is a family-owned and operated farm located in Parkdale, Oregon. Its groves have been yielding produce at the base of Mt. Hood since 1911. Fertile soil and glacier-fed water sources create an ideal growing environment, allowing the orchard to grow over 120 distinct varieties of apples, pears, and Asian pears, as well as cherries, peaches, blueberries, and a variety of other crops.

Kiyokawa claims to provide "the largest U-Pick orchard in the valley," where families can walk through over 200 acres of trees and harvest fruit by hand. Visitors can select familiar varieties like Fuji and Gala, or discover variations unique to the region, like Hanner's Jumbo. In addition to the seasonal bounty, the grower's stand offers turnovers, local honey, jams, and fresh cider.

In at #2 is Land's Sake. This New England nonprofit is dedicated to fostering educational interactions between people, natural foods, and the earth. Land's Sake offers many hands-on activities, like local farm stands, social gatherings at the farm or in the woods, herb and flower picking, vegetable harvesting, grower and forestry programs, and maple tree tapping. On top of its eco-friendly programs, the group also donates a portion of the produce to those experiencing food insecurity.

A number of after-school activities and field trips are designed to inspire children to connect with nature, while helping them gain tools and information to become stewards of the land. Open Farmyard provides weekly activities, like picking and planting in the Education Garden or exploring the property's chicken coop. The Land's Sake farm stand features in-season produce, grown locally using organic methods, as well as a selection of artisan products.

At #3, Apple Holler is a 78-acre farm, home to several thousand fruit trees, yielding a variety of apples, peaches, and pears. The southeastern Wisconsin holding was voted one of the “Top 10 Best Orchards” in the country by USA Today in 2015. Guests can take a wagon ride to the orchard, where designated rows of dwarf trees make it easy for anyone to pick. With many of the branches close to the ground, even young children can participate.

Besides the "pick-your-own" activities, Apple Holler maintains various other on-site shops and eateries, including the Country Store, Orchard Market, and Cider & Bakery Barn. Visitors will find everything from donuts and homemade pies to cider and jams. The indoor restaurant and the Applewood Grill Drive-Thru prepare both savory eats, including sandwiches and pulled pork tacos, and sweets, such as caramel apples.

Next at #4, we have Blooming Junction. A 150-year-old farmstead, it specializes in a broad selection of plants well suited to the local climate and conditions of western Oregon. An expansive garden center holds a selection of shade and fruit trees, berry plants, perennials, annuals, shrubs, ornamental grasses, ground covers, herbs, and organic vegetable starts. Visitors may also purchase garden tools, soils, bulbs, seeds, and outdoor artwork.

The Blooming Junction Farm grows hundreds of different varieties of vegetables, and allows visitors the opportunity to harvest strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and pumpkins. In order to maintain a sustainable food system, the organization incorporates organic growing practices and water conservation methods.

Lastly, at #5 is Ballinaclash. The estate, located in New South Wales, boasts an orchard, shop, and award-winning vineyard and cellar. Owners Peter and Cath Mullany craft culinary staples like jams and sauces, as well as single-vineyard wines, made exclusively from fruit grown on the property. Guests can taste the grower's selection of red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines.

Ballinaclash's orchards are open for picking. One may harvest a variety of stone fruits, like cherries, apricots, and plums. Meanwhile, the Farm Gate Shop provides fresh seasonal creations, from pies and ice creams to Maddy Pops, which are homemade frozen treats made from Ballinaclash cherries.