Posts Tagged ‘delaplane strawberry festival’

Best Berry Picking Farms & Festivals

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the pinnacle of strawberry season here in the DC area, and the foodie tots tend to eat through our weekly market haul of berries well before I get a chance to cook with them. So a trip to the pick-your-own farm is essential for stocking up!

Here are a few favorite places to get out and pick your own berries in Northern Virginia:

strawberry patch at wegmeyer farms

  1. Great Country Farms: Bluemont, Va. (note: GCF charges admission, but is basically a farm adventure land for the kids. Check the website to see about special events.)
  2. Hollin Farms: Delaplane, Va.
  3. Wegmeyer Farms: Hamilton, Va. (see comments below)
  4. Butler’s Orchard: Germantown, Md.
  5. Shlagel Farms: Waldorf, Md.
  6. Westmoreland Berry Farms Oak Grove, Va. (on the Northern Neck, they serve barbecue fare and ice cream/strawberry shortcake in season)

foodie tots at Wegmeyer Farms, Va.

A few things to note for a successful berry picking trip:

  • Go early and ALWAYS call ahead to check picking conditions. The farms around here tend to get picked out quickly on nice summer days, and this weekend is sure to be busy.
  • Dress the kids in dark colors (or red) to avoid stains and wear appropriate footwear (e.g., not the flip flops my toddler refused to change out of. They were new, after all, and a girl can’t be separated from her new shoes.).
  • Bug spray and sunscreen/sun hats are a must.
  • You can’t plop a toddler down in a field of the freshest berries she’s ever seen and not expect her to nibble — so be courteous and round up your tab at check-out to cover any excessive in-field consumption.* And if you hope to have enough leftover for jam, you might want to buy twice what you think you’ll need.

Wegmeyer Farms is an easy under-60-minute drive from Arlington, and we love it for the younger kids in particular. The berry patch is a manageable size (and easy walking distance from parking) for younger kids. There are a couple picnic tables but unlike some of the larger farms (Great Country and Westmoreland have full-service concessions) you’ll have to pack your own lunch. {Update: Wegmeyer has three separate locations this year — Hamilton, Gilberts Corner and at Oaklands Plantation — visit their website for details.}

Hollin Farms is also an easy drive, off of I-66 at exit 23, and grows a variety of crops from berries to peaches, greens and even peanuts. They also practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) — while I’m not aware of any truly organic local pick-your-own farms, IPM farms typically use more natural/less synthetic pest control methods.

foodietots at delaplane strawberry festival

For more than just picking, two popular festivals take place this weekend, May 23 & 24 –

Delaplane Strawberry Festival at Sky Meadows State Park, 10am to 5pm each day. Take a hay-ride, listen to live music, enjoy food and crafts, pony rides, games and more. Find our recap here.

& Great Country Farms Strawberry Jubilee, 9am to 6pm (but strawberry picking only from 9-11am) and next weekend, May 30-31. Features a Diaper Derby for crawling tots, a Strawberry Princess, strawberry shortcake and much more!

If my kids leave any, we’ll be making strawberry shortcake this weekend. You?

virginia grown strawberries

*The foodie tot heard the farmer say, “Go ahead and taste ‘em,” and promptly shoveled three in her mouth.

Kids Cook: Strawberry Radish Salsa {and Delaplane Strawberry Festival}

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

We took advantage of the unusually mild weather this past holiday weekend to finally check out the Delaplane Strawberry Festival in Virginia’s Fauquier County. The annual event is packed with old-fashioned family fun, from the cupcake walk and face painting to tug-of-war, potato sack races, hay rides and pony rides. There were food vendors and live music, too. There’s not much better than chowing down on crab cake sandwiches while the kids dance to bluegrass under a bright blue sky.

foodietots @ the delaplane strawberry festival

We capped the day off with strawberry sundaes. Unfortunately they’d sold out of fresh berries, and other local farms were struggling to keep up with demand over the busy weekend. Our cool spring has delayed our summer berries and fruits, but I hear there will be plenty of berries available by this coming weekend.

Whether you pick your berries at the farm or just pick them up at market, here’s a fun salsa recipe that incorporates the radishes that are also in season.

Strawberry Radish Salsa

Recipe: Strawberry Radish Salsa
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped radish
  • 1 finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, combine chopped strawberries, radish and green onion.

2. In an even smaller bowl, whisk together honey and vinegar until honey is dissolved. Pour mixture over strawberries and stir gently to combine.

3. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

~

view from Sky Meadows State Park

That’s the view from Sky Meadows State Park, where the festival was held. Mark your calendars for Memorial Day weekend, 2014. We’ll see you there!

(As a reminder, here are some of our favorite places to pick strawberries in Northern Virginia — but remember to ALWAYS call first to confirm availability before you make the trip.)