Posts Tagged ‘westmoreland berry farms’

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.

Getting Social at the Farmers Market

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Summer’s here and farmers markets are open all across the country — even in Minnesota, I hear.* I’ve written before about how fabulous farmers markets are for kids — my son will eat anything a farmer offers him to sample, especially if it comes on a toothpick. Earlier this week we went to the Crystal City FreshFarm Market (Tuesdays, 3-7pm) after school, and after sampling our way from end to end stopped to get frozen yogurt from the Sweetgreen truck. One of the boy’s teachers spotted us in line and called him out for having dessert before dinner, to which he replied, “Actually, I already ate dinner at the market!” (He had quite a balanced meal, really — beef jerky, cheeses (though he declared the ashed-goat log was “weird”), breads, lots of cherries, berries and apple slices, and apple cider.)

frigidaire gowalla badgeThere’s nothing I love more than a good local food-social media collaboration, so I have to share this summer promotion that landed in my inbox: When you check in to a farmers market on Gowalla this summer, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children‘s Kids’ Cooking Academy Summer Session. To trigger another $1 donation and enter for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Gallery┬« French Door Refrigerator, you can make a commitment to eat fresh at www.maketimeforchange.com. (Enter daily until September 20.)

Do you follow your local farmers market on Facebook or Twitter? It’s a great way to get the scoop on what’s fresh each week. Local peeps, you can follow @FreshFarmMktsDC, @DelRayFarmMkt and the West End Market (@knerq) on Twitter. And of course, find us @foodietots.

in season june in virginia

P.S. Pictured above are the first Virginia peaches of the season! Courtesy of Westmoreland Berry Farms at the McLean Farmers Market (Fridays, 8am-noon). Look for bicolor corn, raspberries, blueberries, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, okra and much more at the markets this weekend.

* Our dear friends moved to Minnesota several years ago. The boy has it in his head that Minnesota is practically at the North Pole, so he’s always talking about how they have “snow that never melts” there. In fact, just yesterday I heard the following in the car: “When you made me be born, you didn’t just have a normal human baby, you had me with T-Rex vision! I can see all the way to the North Pole! And even Minnesota!”

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Publisher Program I received a stipend from Frigidaire for writing about this promotion. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.