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Fall is filled with some of our favorite traditions. Topping that list? Apple picking. Before you start Googling Halloween costumes or sipping pumpkin spice lattes, take a few minutes to scroll this list of pick-your-own apple orchards around the DC area. Many have implemented new procedures—like requiring reservations—for a safe, socially-distant farm experience. Read on for the best places to fill your bucket—literally.

photo: Club Julia via Yelp

Maryland

Milburn Orchards
This fam-favorite hosts “U-Pick Apple Adventures” now through the end of October. The exploration begins with a free wagon ride into the orchards where you and your crew are given as many picking bags as you can carry. This orchard gets high marks in the convenience category—credit card payments for the apples are accepted in the orchard and all of the trees are dwarf trees with fruit that is reachable for the toddler set from the ground. P.S. Grab a few of their amazing apple cider donuts for the drive home.

Insider tip: Pick up one of these apple-grabbing tools that let little ones reach the fruit without a lift. Get it here.

COVID-19 Update: Reservations are required for apple picking. You can make them here.

1495 Appleton Rd.
Elkton, MD
410-398-1349
Online: milburnorchards.com
Distance from DC: About 100 miles

Weber’s Farm
If apple cider is your jam, this is where you’ll want to lay your basket. The cider mill at this farm is the oldest in continuous use in Maryland, which means they know what they’re doing. The fresh pressed cider is available everyday through December.

Insider tip: Who needs a bucket when you can fill your apron. This fruit-picking gear lets you go hands-free and, let’s face it, you’ll need all the hands when helping littles grab those juicy orbs.

COVID-19 Update: You must pre-pay for your PYO produce and masks are required.

2526 Proctor Ln.
Parkville, MD
410-668-4488
Online: weberscidermillfarm.com
Distance from DC: About 50 miles

Rock Hill Orchard
Rock Hill has several thousand apple trees in their orchard! From Blondee’s to Macoun’s this is your go-to apple picking place. Your family is guaranteed to have an authentic farm experience here. Rock Hill Orchard is located in the Agricultural Reserve in Northern Montgomery County and is midway between Damascus and Mount Airy.  

Insider tip: An apple orchard is the perfect place to read a book under a shady tree. Check out this learn-to-read book that features, you guessed it, apple picking.

COVID-19 Update. Reservations are required.

28600 Ridge Rd.
Mount Airy, MD
301-831-7427
Online: rockhillorchard.com

Distance From DC: About 40 miles

apple-picking-boy-crdtphoto: Charles Dawley via Flickr

Catoctin Mountain Orchard
You’ll likely smell this charming orchard before you see it. That’s because in addition to offering a host of apple varieties (including cortland, empire and cameo), Catoctin whips up fresh apple cider, pies, and jam in it’s on site kitchen and bakery.

COVID-19 Update: Masks are required on wagon rides and when paying for produce in the market store.

15036 N. Franklinville Rd.
Thurmont, MD
301-271-2737
Online: catoctinmountainorchard.com
Distance from DC: About 60 miles

photo: Valarie S. via Yelp

 

Larriland Farm
Counting chemicals? This nearly-organic farm sprays its apples with pesticides only as a last resort. Instead, they use other tactics like crop rotation and water management to keep buggy-boos at bay. Other than their eco-conscious efforts, Larriland also offers more than 15 different types of u-pick apples, a barn store with already-plucked fruits and veggies (and kettle corn) and pre- or post-picking hayrides.

COVID-19 Update: Larriland’s motto is “If you are sick, don’t pick.” Masks are required on this farm, even when picking. For a full list of current COVID-related rules & requirements, go here.

2415 Woodbine Rd.
Woodbine, MD
410-442-2605
Online: pickyourown.com
Distance from DC: About 30 miles

Baugher’s
Baugher’s Orchard has been a family owned, working fruit and vegetable farm since 1904. It started out as a 60 acre piece of land and has expanded to become a 600 acre operation, and one of the largest orchards in Maryland. Enjoy a wagon ride to the orchard and pick from apple trees on a picturesque Carroll County hillside. Kids can run around at the playground and even explore the Petting Zoo. Ice cream is sold in the market which is a great way to cap the day!

1015 Baugher Rd.
Westminster, MD

(410) 857-0111
Online: baughers.com

Distance from DC: About 70 miles

Homestead Farm
Don’t know your Ginger Golds from your Granny Smiths? Can’t tell what’s ripe or not? No problem! This is a teaching farm, so just ask and you shall receive. Their website also lists a ton of apple-based recipes (the Apple Crisp is a must-try!). Side note: You can leave the flimsy grocery store bags at home—Homestead hooks you up with heavy duty totes to collect your crop.

COVID-19 Update: Masks are required indoors.

15604 Sugarland Rd.
Poolesville, MD
301-977-3761
Online: homestead-farm.net
Distance from DC: About 25 miles

 


Picture_004
photo: Marker-Miller Orchards

Virginia

Marker-Miller Orchards
Sure, this farm boasts a whopping 325 acres of apples. But, what really impresses the kid set is the cow train (it’s exactly what it sounds like—a cow-shaped train); old time-y wagon rides; and Kiddie Land, an irresistible playground complete with a large wooden ship, tractor and wagon. Apples? What apples?

COVID-19 Update: Hand washing stations are available before you enter the fields; hand washing is required before picking. Masks are required when in the orchard if socially distancing can not be maintained.  For a complete list of rules & regulations, go here.

3035 Cedar Creek Grade
Winchester, VA
540-662-1980
Online: markermillerorchards.com
Distance from DC: About 85 miles

Crooked Run Orchard
Nestled on the outskirts of Purcellville, this farm boasts trees that bear fruit dating back to 1760! The farm bears the name of a small tributary of the Goose Creek State Scenic River system. While the creek has been paved over in many parts of Loudoun county, it runs freely on this fruit and vegetable farm. After picking apples, be sure to head to downtown Purcellville for lunch.

37883 East Main St.
Purcellville, VA
540-338-6642
Online: facebook.com/CrookedRunOrchard
Distance from DC: About 50 miles

Hartland Orchard
Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hartland is a deep-rooted, family-owned working farm and orchard. Take a relaxing drive and spend the day in the scenic country side. Hartland takes pride in offering the freshest, juiciest apples possible. Containers and bags can be found upon entering the orchard, where you can spend a few hours in a stunning country setting picking a variety of apple types from Braeburns to Nittanys.

COVID-19 Update: This farm boasts plenty of room for social distancing & a plentiful fall crop.

3064 Hartland Lane
Markham, VA 22643
540.364.2316
Online: hartlandorchard.com
Distance from DC: About 60 miles

hayride-1photo: Great Country Farms

Great Country Farms
Apples are Great Country Farms’ thang! Apple picking is like a competitive sport to these folks so get ready to roll up your sleeves at CGF and get to work! Not only do they have apple picking, but there is also apple cider pressing, apple wine tastings and apple butter that you can buy. Their orchard is bursting with lovely apples and they have several varieties such as Gala, Jona Gold, Jona Free, Candy Crisp, Ruby Jon and Fuji ready for picking through the fall. The farm offers free wagon rides that take you to the orchard. Don’t forget to stop by the farm market for some hot cider donuts.

COVID-19 Updates: Advanced reservations are required for Sat. & Sun. picking.

18780 Foggy Bottom Rd.
Bluemont, VA
540-554-2073
Online: greatcountryfarms.com
Distance from DC: About 60 miles

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
Mackintosh Fruit Farm is a family owned farm huddled in the stunning Northern Shenandoah Valley. There’s no fee to pick the apples as they want the experience to be affordable for all families. Varieties include Gala, Ginger Gold, and Fuji. They sell lunch on the farm and even have breakfast specials on weekends. Got a sweet tooth? The farm sells caramel apples, apple cider floats, apple caramel sundaes, baked apples, pies, donuts, and more! 

COVID-19 Update: PYO is by appointment only. Make yours here.

1608 Russell Rd.
Berryville, VA

540-955-6225
Online: mackintoshfruitfarm

Distance from DC: About 70 miles

photo: Heather B. via Yelp

Carter Mountain Orchard
This scenic farm is a couple of hours away from DC, but it’s worth the drive. Expect pumpkins, hayrides, a winery, and apples…lots and lots of apples. Still on the fence? The apple cider donuts alone are worth the trip.

COVID-19 Update: Make your reservation here for in-person picking or take a scenic drive through the farm & grab pre-picked apples for a no contact farm experience.

1435 Carters Mountain Trail
Charlottesville, VA
434-977-1833
Online: cartermountainorchard.com
Distance from DC: About 125 miles

Hollin Farms
This fourth-generation family farm is worth the drive just for the spectacular views: Virginia mountains everywhere along with other farms. With acres of apples ready to be plucked from the trees, they also offer chilled cider and other drinks, donuts, ice cream, and other fresh baked goods. Toss in the fact that they’re puppy-friendly and this orchard can quickly become your family’s favorite apple-picking destination.

COVID-19 Update: This farm asks that you please wash your hands prior to picking & wear face masks in enclosed areas.

1524 Snowden Road
Delaplane, Virginia
540-592-3574
Online: www.hollinfarms.com
Distance from DC: About 60 miles

photo: Lauren F. via Yelp

Rinker Orchards
Rinker Orchards is truly a Shenandoah Valley hidden gem. Out of the 7,500 cultured varieties of apples, they focus on 10 that grow best in this region, and boy, do they grow them well! Bring lunch and enjoy a picturesque picnic beneath an apple tree that overlooks the orchard while the kids play tag. Make sure you give their apple cider a try – it has no added sugar, water, or preservatives. Bonus: they accept cash, checks and all major credit cards for all your purchases.

COVID-19 Update: Guests must wear masks when visiting the farm.

1156 Marlboro Rd
Stephens City, VA
540-869-1499
Online: www.rinkerorchards.com
Distance from DC: About 85 miles

—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Wendy Miller, Guiomar Ochoa and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

featured photo: Pixabay 

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