The Ultimate Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms

The Ultimate Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms
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The Ultimate Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms

Why more families are choosing this popular seasonal activity and when is the best time to go

When you think of farms, you probably used to think of the song Old McDonald; with red barns, milking cows, and chickens laying eggs. But they are a lot more than that! In the past decade or so, farm visits have become a very popular outdoor family excursion for a lot of reasons. Not only do farm trips teach us about agriculture and where our food comes from, but they get our families off their devices and out of the house and take us into a different scenery. Additionally, farms allow fun and interactive experiences, like picking your own produce. As an added bonus, they provide the perfect backdrop for a family photo. 

 

We’ve listed some great reasons to choose this popular seasonal activity with your family below, along with tips and helpful information you will need to prepare for your next trip to the farm! 

 

Note: Sometimes Mother Nature has different plans than we do. Make sure to confirm the farm’s hours, prices, and availability before heading out.  

 

Why Pick Your Own Farms?

Sensational Scenery 

 

The scenery at these farms and fields is absolutely breathtaking, serving as amazing photo ops for the whole family that are Instagram and holiday-card-worthy all year round. So make sure your phone is fully charged and in the right mode for all the beautiful photos you are going to take. Snap away and capture those memories!  

 

Health Benefits 

 

There is nothing like smelling fresh lavender, biting into a crisp strawberry, or plucking the perfect apple off a tree. Picking your own produce has both mental and physical health benefits. Getting outdoors has been proven to boost your vitamin D levels and reduce feelings of stress. Visiting these fields and farms gives you and your family the ability to stimulate all five senses. Plus, having fresh produce in the house promotes healthy eating. It could make even your picky eater try something new!

 

Whether you are buying produce or not, the environment lends itself to a new kind of outdoor experience, so breathe in the fresh air and enjoy your surroundings! Most farms provide rich knowledge about agriculture, as it is both interesting and beneficial to know where your food is coming from.

 

Environmental Benefits of Pick Your Own Farms

 

Visiting farms is a great way to support small businesses and local farmers, which in turn helps stimulate the local economy. This support promotes sustainability and ecological preservation. Further support the environment by carpooling to farms with friends to reduce fossil fuels!

Taste the Difference

 

Let’s be real, at the end of the day one of the best benefits of picking your own produce is stocking your fridge and pantry with all the yummy fresh fruits and veggies! Once you bring all the produce home, the possibilities are endless. You can create your own jams, jellies, pies, and more. Check out recipes to make after pumpkin picking and apple picking

 

Not the recipe cooking type? No worries! Most of these farms feature a market where you can purchase seasonal farm fresh fruits and vegetables grown onsite. They carry high-quality homemade ciders, coffees, teas, maple syrups, honey, jams, yogurts, cheeses, etc. The options are endless! Find a farm with a bakery and you hit the jackpot!  If you never had a hot, fresh apple cider donut you have no idea what you are missing! Stock up on your favorite pies to share with your families, a very popular option when it comes to holiday time. No one can resist a fresh farm pie! 

Ultimate Guide to Pick-Your-Own Fruits, Flowers and More!

Fresh strawberries at New York farms
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Strawberries

There is nothing like a fresh, sweet and slightly tangy strawberry. Children love strawberries in their natural form, but the possibilities for family-friendly recipes are endless. Some favorites include strawberry jams, yogurt, and pancakes. Parents looking for a real treat? 

Homemade strawberry daiquiris make the perfect summer cocktail. Cheers!

 

When to go? Strawberry season is typically late in May and early June. 

How much? Prices range from $5.50 to $8.00 per pound. 

Picking tips: When picking the perfect strawberries, look for vibrant red and fully shaped strawberries. Strawberries do not ripen after being picked so you want to grab the ripest ones right away. When picking your strawberries, grip the stem above the strawberry, twist, and pull. Be careful when storing strawberries in containers to not overcrowd the container, for that may cause strawberries to bruise or become mushy. When you go home, refrain from washing the strawberries until you are ready to use them; washing immediately increases the chances of spoiling faster. 

 

Strawberry Picking Spots in NYC

Strawberry Picking Spots in Long Island

Strawberry Picking Spots In Staten Island 

 

Spots to Go Berry Picking in New York and New Jersey

Peaches at local farms are delicious
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Peaches

A little peachy attitude goes a long way for this sweet summer fruit. Peaches hold a bright and sweet flavor with notes of tartness. They have been called a superfood and contain excellent sources of vitamins A and C. They are versatile; keep it simple with sliced peaches and creams or whip up a decadent peach cobbler. 

 

When to go? Peach-picking season is typically late July through September.

How much? Peaches are approximately $3.00 per pound. 

Picking tips: When it comes to picking the perfect peach there are many things to keep an eye out for. First, you want to examine the peaches’ skin. If there is any green on the skin, the peach is not ready to be picked. Additionally, use your sense of smell! Ripe and ready peaches will give off a sweet aroma, when there is no aroma the peach needs more time to ripen. Finally, make sure the fruit is not too firm and easy to retrieve from the tree. When bringing peaches home, store them in the refrigerator to slow down the process of ripening. For long-term storage, you can freeze them in an airtight plastic bag. 

 

Peach Picking Near NYC

Beautiful sunflowers are fun to pick
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Sunflowers 

Did you know you can pick your own sunflowers? Sunflowers are commonly associated with summer. They add a pop of color to any space, whether it is your backyard, kitchen, or living room. Sunflowers can be put on display, used for crafts, composting, and more. Sunflower fields open the door for some seriously Instagram-worthy pictures. There are usually a plethora of fun activities for families, such as mazes and bouquet making. 

 

When to go?: Sunflower picking season is typically mid-summer. 

How much? Sunflowers cost approximately $2.00 a flower.

Picking Tips: Some sunflower farms or fields let you pick your own sunflowers while others sell them. You are usually allowed to enter the fields for photos either way, but check the farm’s policy first. 

 

Sunflower Fields Near NYC

Sunflower Mazes Near Staten Island

9 Best Places For Apple Picking on Long Island
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Apples

Nothing says fall like a nice crisp apple plucked straight from a tree. Apples are one of the most diverse fruits and are  used in so many different delicious ways. Cider, pie, tarts, juice, and more are all amazing options – not to mention biting into one the old-fashioned way. There are tons of apple varieties, so choose a farm that is growing your favorite kind. Or try them all!

 

When to go?: Apple season normally begins in late August and lasts until around mid to late October.

How much?: Prices for apples vary by variety and typically are sold by the pound. 

Picking tips: There are many things to look out for when choosing your choice of apples. You want to ensure the apples you pick are free from any blemishes or bruises. Apples should be firm to the touch and not mushy. Another helpful tip is to look for apples with stems intact, as the stem keeps the apple good for longer. Be mindful when you pick the apple to keep the stem intact. 

 

Apple Picking Near NYC

Apple Picking On Long Island

Apple Picking Near Staten Island

pumpkin picking 2021
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Pumpkins

Pumpkin picking is a fall staple and perhaps the most popular fall outdoor activity for families. Carving pumpkins is a treasured tradition for many families after everyone chooses their perfect pumpkin. Kids love the joy of picking their own pumpkin to turn into a unique jackolantern and displaying it proudly outside during Halloween. Grab a few extra pumpkins to create some delicious recipes such as pumpkin pie, bread, muffins and more. Pumpkins are a very healthy food that provides calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Don’t forget to roast the seeds! 

 

When to go? Pumpkin-picking picking season typically begins in September and ends on Halloween.

How much? Pumpkin prices vary greatly depending on size, but they average around $5.50 each.

Picking tips: Color is everything when it comes to the perfect pumpkin. You want to pick a pumpkin that is a gorgeous orange color with no blemishes or bruising. If you are looking for a pumpkin to carve, you want to look for one that will have enough room for your design and a smooth outer shell. When bringing home your pumpkin you definitely want to clean it. Pumpkins can be prone to bacteria, which could result in decaying. 

 

Check out:

Pumpkin Picking in NYC

Pumpkin Picking on Long Island

Pumpkin Picking Staten Island

Photo by Any Lane, Pexels

Christmas Trees

Did you know you can pick your very own Christmas tree? Christmas tree farms allow you to observe these gorgeous trees in their natural habitat and take them to your home to decorate. Picking your own tree creates a special memory within the family for the holidays. Not to mention, having a real Christmas tree will hit you with joy the second you open your front door, thanks to their unmistakable aroma. Most Christmas tree farms also sell wreaths, garlands and more. And as an added treat for the kids…lots of tree farms offer a visit and photo opportunity with Santa! So grab a hot chocolate or cider and enjoy this holiday tradition, sure to get your family right into the Christmas spirit! 

 

When to go? Christmas Tree farms usually open around late November through December 

How much? The average price of a Christmas tree is about $85. 

Picking Tips: Bundle up! It will most likely be very chilly and you want your family to be as comfy as possible. Always feel free to ask questions to farm workers in order to find your perfect tree. Your tree should be a healthy green color and the size of your liking. Christmas trees can be quite large so measure ahead of time and make sure you have the space in your vehicle to transport it home. Additionally, look for branches with space to hold all of your decorations and ornaments; flimsy branches will result in falling “needles.” When home, you will need fresh water to keep your tree well hydrated. The amount of water you will need depends on the size of your tree and trunk.

 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farms NY 

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