PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2015, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website and Facebook page for the most current information, especially things like hours and pricing.
Pick-Your-Own (PYO) season is officially here in Connecticut and I couldn’t be more excited!
Seriously, taking my little ones to local orchards to pick fresh fruit is one of my favorite outings of the summer. You get them out of the house for a few hours and then you come home with a large amount of delicious, fresh fruit to enjoy. Love it!
Strawberries are always the first fruit of the season and starting in June I find myself stalking the Facebook pages of all of my favorite PYO destinations. This year, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield popped up in my news feed during the first week of June announcing that their strawberry fields were ready for picking. I was surprised to see that the season had begun and I immediately started daydreaming of fresh strawberries and strawberry rhubarb pie.
While I had been to Lyman Orchards before and written about their very fun (and very challenging) fall corn maze, I had never picked fruit at Lyman’s and written about that experience. So with a beautiful forecast expected last Friday and strawberries ready to be picked, I knew what my next destination needed to be.
Lyman Orchards is HUGE and the PYO fields are located throughout the property. Fortunately they do a great job of providing signage directing visitors to the fields that are ready for picking. I just followed the directions to the Apple Barrel, their onsite market, and then looked for the directional signs for the crop I wanted to pick. The strawberry patch was actually located right off of South Road, just up the street from the Apple Barrel, and there were plenty of signs leading me there.
PYO happens most days from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. but timing and availability can depend on several factors including weather. Before you visit, be sure to call their PYO hotline at 860-349-6015 to make sure the picking schedule has not changed.
Parking is available in a dirt lot located right next to the strawberry fields and visitors can pick up picking trays and pay for their strawberries at the little building located right on the property. For the 2015 season, strawberries at Lyman Orchards are $2.95 per pound. The small green picking containers are free and the large trays are $1.50. If you purchase 10 pounds or more of strawberries (basically filling up a whole tray) then the tray is free.
A television station was there the day we visited so that is why there is a random camera man in a lot of my shots 🙂
Lyman Orchards has over six acres of strawberry fields and they mentioned that the weather from this past winter did a great job of insulating the strawberry plants and thus producing a beautiful harvest for this season.
For this outing, I brought Sweetheart with me and we were joined by my friend (and neighbor), Emily, and her two adorable kiddos. Emily is an avid baker so she was as excited as I was for the start of the season.
While most PYO destinations will provide you with picking containers, I always like to bring a bucket for the kids so that they have something easy to carry while they attempt to help me pick the fruit. “Attempt” being the key word there.
But even if they weren’t the most dedicated strawberry pickers, these two were definitely fun to have around. I’m sure they were laughing at something ridiculously funny that I just said.
Okay. Here we go. Sweetheart finally decided to pick a few strawberries.
One important thing to note when picking strawberries is that, unlike many other fruits, they don’t ripen after they have been picked. So the key is to make sure that the strawberries you pick are completely red before you harvest them.
I wanted to point out that Emily brought her youngest in a jogging stroller and it worked out great. We saw several other families there with strollers as well. A BabyBjorn or similar baby carrier would also have been a great option.
Right in the middle of our picking session Sweetheart announced that she needed to use the restroom.Of course! Fortunately, there was a port-a-potty right on the property that we were able to use. No mad-dash to the Apple Barrel required.
For payment, they accept cash, checks, and credit cards. Plus, remember that the large picking tray is free if you pick at least 10 pounds. The nice guy working the booth that day let us know that we could store the strawberries on our kitchen counter or in the refrigerator for a short period of time or freeze them for longer storage.
Even though we were done with picking we were not yet done with Lyman Orchards. It was lunchtime and Emily and I were hoping to enjoy lunch on the deck of the Apple Barrel. We got the kids packed up in the car and made the short drive down the road to this nearby foodie destination.
The Apple Barrel is open 7 days a week, year round and it has a lot of wonderful food options available for purchase. From fresh fruits and vegetables to pies, dressings, frozen meals, cider, coffee, lunch items and more.
Stop by before picking and get a cider donut and coffee or stop by afterwards for lunch. Oh and be sure to grab a free bag of popcorn as you enter the store.
I tried out the Honeycrisp sandwich for lunch (delicious) and enjoyed it on their outdoor deck which offered plenty of shade on a hot day. They also have indoor seating available along with high chairs in both locations.
And that was it. A wrap to our morning adventure!
Oh what a morning for a pick-your-own strawberries and enjoying a delicious lunch!
There is a lot to offer at Lyman Orchards. PYO season starts in June and runs through October with a large variety of fruits offered including one that I had never heard of before — jostaberries. Visit them for your own PYO outing and maybe even try out one of their fun festivals or events. This Saturday, June 13th they will be celebrating the strawberry season with one such event — their 2015 Strawberry Fest.
And if you are looking to extend your morning adventure to a full day of fun, maybe go for a hike, a swim, or just a visit to the waterfalls at nearby Wadsworth Falls State Park!
What is your favorite thing about the pick-your-own season? Share with us by leaving a comment below! #LymanPYO
Main Phone: 860.349.1793
PYO Hotline: 860.349.6015
Pick-Your-Own: Open most days in-season from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Any changes in schedule will be available through their PYO Hotline: 860.349.6015
Apple Barrel: Open 7 days a week, year round from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m, Saturday and Sunday.
For the 2015 season, PYO strawberries are $2.95 per pound. Large picking trays are $1.50 but free if you pick ten pounds or more.
- Stroller Friendly: YES. You can bring a stroller to the picking fields and in the Apple Barrel. For the fields I would recommend a jogging stroller if possible.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. You can definitely bring your own coffee or pick up one at the Apple Barrel before you head out picking.
- Restroom: YES. A port-a-potty was available in the strawberry fields and there are restrooms at the Apple Barrel.
- Baby Changing Station: YES. One is available in the restroom at the Apple Barrel.
- Parking: YES. There is a parking area right next to the picking area and another parking area right next to the Apple Barrel. There is no charge to park.
- Food for Sale: YES. The Apple Barrel has a large variety of food for sale options. Find their deli menu here. They also offer Breakfast on the Deck on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am – 11:00 am. The Apple Barrel market also has a large variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, drinks, and other items available for sale.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Age Recommendations: Not Applicable. This adventure is good for all ages.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- Discounts: Not Applicable
- Birthday Party Venue: Not Applicable
Tips and Things to Bring:
- Lyman Orchards has a PYO 24-hour hotline, 860-349-6015. Make sure you call and check the latest picking conditions before you head out.
- You should pick only completely red strawberries. They won’t ripen off of the vine.
- Make sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and other sun protection items. If the sun is out the day you are picking, you will be sure to feel it!
- Make sure to bring water to keep hydrated. If you forget your water, they have water for sale at the strawberry picking booth or at the Apple Barrel.
- They will provide picking containers or you can bring your own.
- Wear comfortable shoes that offer a little bit of protection for your feet. You are walking through a field! I like to wear tennis shoes or something similar. My kids love to wear their rain boots.
- Dogs are not allowed in the picking areas.
- Stop by the Apple Barrel for coffee and a pastry before you go picking or stop by afterwards for lunch.
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