Updated on May 11, 2023
Nothing tastes better than a sweet strawberry, and they seem to taste just a little better if you’ve picked them yourself.
Cooler temperatures and rain affect strawberry crops, as do diseases. In Virginia, strawberry picking runs from May until June.
If you’ve never gone strawberry picking, here are a few things to know.
- Wear farm-appropriate clothes and ones that can get dirty. Closed-toe shoes are a must, since you are walking on farmland and the ground can be uneven or muddy. Berry stains are inevitable. If you wear white, you’ll regret it. Wear a hat and sunscreen on warm days.
- Weekdays tend to be less crowded at you-pick farms.
- Only pick red strawberries. They don’t ripen after you pick them.
- Don’t eat them before you buy them. They should be washed first.
- Avoid deep containers and be gentle. Berries are fragile. You don’t want to get home and find the ones on the bottom squished.
While some you-pick farms in and around Northern Virginia have opened, others won’t open until mid-May. Here are some options for you.
VIRGINIA PICK-YOUR-OWN STRAWBERRY FARMS
Berry Good Farm
Berry Good Farm’s pick-your-own-strawberry area has not yet opened for the season. 6062 Dwyer Ln., Bealeton
Critzer Family Farm
For those up for a drive to Afton (roughly two-and-a-half hours from Dulles), the strawberry patches are open. The hours vary by the day, and this five-generation farm regularly updates its Facebook page. You can buy a $1 reusable picking bucket or bring your own container. You won’t be charged for the weight of the container. The farm has a rule: “If you touch it, you pick it.” 9388 Critzer Shop Rd., Afton
Great Country Farms
Great Country Farms opens in mid-May. Season pass holders get free, unlimited admission, 25 percent off of berries, and early acccess to picking information. 34345 Snickersville Tpk., Bluemont
This family-run farm in Delaplane, adjacent to Sky Meadows State Park, offers you-pick strawberries. It reopens in late May. Unfortunately, the farm will not have strawberries in 2023. 1524 Snowden Rd., Delaplane
Mackintosh Fruit Farm
Mackintosh Fruit Farm reopens its market and kitchen on Thursday, May 4. Its pick-your-own area is not yet open. 1608 Russell Rd., Berryville
Messick’s Farm Market
Messick’s Farm Market in Fauquier County provides containers for the berries you pick. The berries run $5.49 per pound. The strawberries are large this year. The farm’s strawberry festival will be every weekend through May 21. Admission to the festival is $13 per person, $8 for anyone 55 or older, and free for those 3 and younger. Visit during the week to avoid the admission fee. The fields are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 6025 Catlett Rd., Bealeton
Cooler temperatures have slowed down this year’s ripening, Wegmeyer Farms said on its Facebook page. It has you-pick at its farm in Hamilton and at Oatlands in Leesburg. It updates its Facebook page on a daily basis, and reservations can be made one day in advance. 38299 Hughesville Rd., Hamilton
Yankey Farms has a strawberry patch in Bristow. You only need reservations if you are going on Saturdays or Memorial Day Monday. The farm can only take reservations one day in advance. Picking season is expected to run into early or mid-June. Containers for your berries are provided. You can get a quart container for $8 or a gallon bucket for $30. 11812 Bristow Rd., Bristow
MARYLAND PICK-YOUR-OWN STRAWBERRY FARMS
Butler’s in Germantown has been operating for more than 70 years. It has berry picking in May and June. Butler’s offers a pick/play season pass that gets you 10 percent off your pick-your-own selections. It uses a container system and doest no allow containers from home. There’s a farm park with fun activities for the kids, as well as a farm market. 22222 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown, Md.
Southern Comfort Berry Farm
Located in Southern Maryland on the waterfront where the Potomac and Wicomico rivers converge, this farm grows organic berries but the strawberries are not certified as organic. The season is underway. It has over 18,000 strawberry plants and updates its Facebook page regularly with picking hours and conditions. 22410 Bushwood Wharf Rd., Bushwood, Md.
Feature image courtesy Messick’s Farm Market/Facebook
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