PLEASE NOTE: This post was originally published in 2015. It was updated in 2017.
After so many growing seasons of blogging (with as many PYO outings as we could fit in!), we’ve started to get a little bit of a handle on the rhythms of PYO offerings in these parts. We know that strawberries come up fast and fleeting in early to mid June; that peaches make their juicy debut in July; and that blueberries linger long into August. Apples can be late summer or early fall depending on the variety, and for the most part, “picking” pumpkins means just picking one out from a pre-picked patch (but trust us, you don’t really want to be wrestling with a pumpkin vine anyway 🙂 ).
We’ve also learned some tips and tricks along the way, like it’s always good to check in with your destination before you go for updates about hours and crop availability. Some farms have special hotlines set up where you can call about the day’s activities. And many are active on Facebook, posting their daily hours and what crops are ready for picking.
Also, so many PYO places have wonderful amenities like playgrounds or play areas for the kids; farm stores stocked with homemade goods and other fresh fruits and veggies; and coffee and sweet treats for snacking (hello fritters!). Some even have animals to visit! So although fruit-picking can be a quick and easy errand, it can also be a laid-back and lazy summer outing with your loved ones.
Other things we’ve discovered: even on a cool day, sunny fields can be hot! So be prepared with hats, sunblock and plenty of drinking water. And speaking of water, if it’s rained recently, wear your rubber boots 🙂
But most importantly we’ve learned, as Mandy summed up so nicely in a previous PYO post, that PYO really is one of our favorite family outings– the kids get outside in the fresh air for a few hours, and you get to come home with tons of fresh produce to enjoy. Plus, you can feel good knowing that you are helping to support our local farms and farmers. It’s really a win-win-win!
So to help you enjoy this all-too-short season of fresh and local, we’ve put together a handy list of all the PYO destinations we’ve visited over the years here at Out and About Mom.
I want to be sure to note that this list only contains places that we have actually been to and blogged about (and links to the blog posts about those destinations are included as well). So if you don’t see your favorite on the list, it’s probably because we haven’t been there yet! We love suggestions for new places though, so please feel free to leave a comment on this post or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your PYO recommendations.
Our list is alphabetical by town, so that you can find the farm nearest you (or plan a road trip). AND PLEASE, don’t forget to check the websites (or better yet Facebook pages!) of these destinations before you go. We’ve included links to them below (when available) to make this bit of PYO prep easy and convenient. Crop availability changes rapidly due to weather conditions and heavy picking crowds, so save yourself some potential heartache and know before you go!
- The Pickin’ Patch in Avon, CT offers a huge variety of PYO crops throughout the growing season (from strawberries* and tomatoes to beans and eggplant). A visit in the fall is always a hit because of their delicious apple fritters, easy pumpkin picking (with a hayride!) and beautiful selection of mums to help with your fall decorating. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 677-9552. *Please note, no PYO strawberries for 2017.
- March Farm in Bethlehem, CT has miles of fun with its kiddie race track, giant sand play area and lots of playhouses to explore. There are also some farm animals to visit with, a farm store with fruits, vegetables, drinks and treats available for purchase, and of course lots of PYO options including strawberries*, cherries, blueberries, peaches and apples. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (203) 266-7721. *Please note, no PYO strawberries for 2017.
- Auerfarm in Bloomfield, CT is a 4-H Education Center that is open to the public daily and it also offers PYO berry picking (blueberries & raspberries) starting in July. It’s a great destination for families who live “west of the river” and don’t always have the time to drive out to towns on the east side of the river (like Glastonbury with its plethora of PYO places) for the latest crops. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 242-7144.
- Scott’s Yankee Farmer in East Lyme, CT is a great shoreline destination for a PYO adventure. They have many different crops available for picking (berries, peaches, apples, pumpkins) plus a farm stand with ready-to-go produce. And it’s not far from some of our other favorite summertime destinations like West Beach at Rocky Neck State Park or Dad’s Restaurant (hello lobster rolls!). Plus, in the fall don’t forget to visit for their corn maze! OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 739-5209.
- Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield, CT lives up to its name with easy parking, easy access to the orchards and well, easy picking! One thing that makes it particularly easy to pick your own here is that they offer weekday morning hours for their PYO crops (including herbs, plums, Asian pears, apples, peaches, raspberries and blueberries), so if you have a flexible schedule and can visit during the week, it means you can avoid those weekend crowds at other places that restrict their PYO hours to weekends. It’s also not far from a great playground. Bonus! OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 763-3276.
- Belltown Hill Orchards in Glastonbury, CT offers lots of PYO options like cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins. It also has lots of family-friendly features like a kid-approved wagon ride out to the fields, a wonderful farm store with goodies to snack on, and even a snack bar with outside seating area that’s open in September for their fall festival. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 633-2789.
- Dondero Orchards in Glastonbury, CT offers easy picking of a wide variety of crops (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines and more!) and a cute kids’ play area with playhouses and other small plastic climbing structures. There’s also plenty of picnic tables where you can hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee and some of their famous fritters while the kids burn off all that extra summertime energy. OAAM POST; Website: Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 659-0294.
- Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury, CT offers a truly unique PYO experience because you can start your outing with a delicious, homemade breakfast on Sunday mornings from late June (starts on Father’s Day!) through October. There’s also a huge kids’ playground and a wonderful fall festival. They also have a super convenient farm stand location on Hebron Avenue. PYO offerings include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples and pumpkins. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 633-7467.
- Scott’s Orchard in Glastonbury, CT has a fantastic farm stand with fresh produce and wonderful baked goods all season long, plus a full garden center with everything your yard needs from mulch to mums (some PYO options available in summer–check their Facebook Page for the latest info). In late summer/early fall, you can enjoy a wide variety of PYO apples, find your perfect pumpkin, explore a FREE kids’ hay maze (open daily) and drop by for their annual festival weekends featuring horse and cart rides through the orchard. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 633-8681.
- Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford, CT has an amazing farm market that’s worth the trip all in itself! But there’s also plenty of PYO fun with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, apples and pumpkins. Fall brings their much-anticipated festival complete with a challenging corn maze. There’s even a winery too! OAAM POST; Website, Facebook Page. Call their 24 hour information line (203) 458-PICK (7425).
- Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT is one of the state’s most well-known PYO destinations. They offer a variety of crops from berries to peaches to apples, pears and pumpkins. And no visit is complete without a stop for lunch and/or a little shopping at the amazing Apple Barrel Market. Make sure you also visit in the fall so you can experience their legendary corn maze and at the holiday season for gingerbread house decorating! OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at 860-349-6015.
- Karabin Farms in Southington, CT offers a unique PYO experience for apples and pumpkins with the opportunity to visit with some farmyard friends (and learn a few things about the animals too!) plus a wagon ride out into the orchard. There’s even a snack bar with a picnic area that’s open on weekends, and the farm store offers local goods and fresh produce. OAAM POST; Website. Call them at (860) 620-0194.
- Rogers Orchards in Southington, CT has been growing fruit for over 200 years, so they know a thing or two about producing delicious crops! They are best known for their expansive apple orchards, and with around 20 varieties to choose from, this PYO hot spot is an apple-lovers dream. Don’t miss their wonderful bakery items and apple cider too. OAAM POST; Website; Facebook Page. Call them at (860) 229-4240. (Please note that Rogers Orchards store is currently closed and will reopen for the harvest season in late July; PYO apples begins around Labor Day.)
You can also check out our Pick Your Own Farms and Orchards board on Pinterest, where you’ll find links to our ever-expanding list of PYO locations. And if you’re in need of a little recipe inspiration for your fruity loot, check out some of our recipe boards as well: Peaches, Blueberries & Apples.
Where are your favorite places to PYO? Let us know by leaving a comment on this post!
Shawna & Mandy
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