Fruit trees and berries are in full bloom across the region, and are ripe for picking.
Here are profiles of a handful of the many local farms and orchards where you and your family can pick your own, shop locally grown harvests and products and enjoy upcoming festivals.
Make sure you check the hours before you go, which can change seasonally. If you intend on picking, you may want to check which fruits are available, since the ripening schedule can vary.
137 W. Knowlton Road
Pick-your-own entrance fee is $6. Fruits and vegetables are priced separately from the fee, and you must pay for what you pick.
The Linvill family has owned the farm since 1914. The grandfather bought the property initially to build a villa, or a location for retreats, and then he began planting fruit trees. Generations have continued to grow the business, said Norm Schultz, 55, the farm manager for 21 years, as he turned off his tractor.
Today, Linvilla spans 335 acres, 160 of which are in production.
In the 1970s, pick-your-own became popular for cutting out the middleman and saving costs to the consumers, while still increasing the revenue for growers, Schultz said. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, produce imports from aboard increased, so fruits became available year-round.
Today, pick-your-own is popular due to the experience, and people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and buy local and fresh, Schultz said.
Since the 1940s, the focus had been on yielding more and making the fruit look attractive, but breeders are now trying to create better flavor in the varieties, he said.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries are just some of the fruit picking options, as well as peaches, plums, apricots and tomatoes that mature later in the summer. Schultz expects this year’s crops will hew close to the regular picking schedule.
“Sixty percent of our customers come from a 10-mile radius, and 40 percent come from urban areas,” Schultz said. “You can see a diverse variety of fruit and where it comes from; it’s an educational experience — it gets kids off the device, and they really enjoy it.”
A farmers market and garden center are also on-site. You can visit the barnyard, including white-tailed deer, calves, goats, horses and peacocks. Train rides and fishing at Orchard Lake are available. And summer events include the Blueberry Festival on July 13 and the Peach Festival Aug. 3.
“It’s a great place in the fall to pick apples for Rosh Hashanah, purchase fresh honey and gather material to build a sukkah — we see a large crowd come to prepare for the Jewish holidays every year,” Schultz said.
29 Copes Lane
Pick-your-own entrance fee is $2.50.
“The baby peaches have arrived,” said Joe Piscitelli, 66, farm manager at Indian Orchards. “It all depends on Mother Nature, but so far this year, our fruits will ripen on schedule,” he said.
The picking season at Indian Orchards starts in mid-June when fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries, are ripe. Peaches and blackberries appear in July, as well as vegetables, including bell peppers, cucumbers, hot peppers and tomatoes. Plums, nectarines, peaches and pears are expected in August, and the season ends late-October/November when apples are done. These are only examples of the many options offered.
Everything is organically grown and their farming methods are sustainable, Piscitelli said. They rotate crops, plant continuously and avoid using chemicals. The orchards span 35 acres, 30 of which are in production.
“People come from up and down the East Coast looking for organically grown fruits and vegetables,” Piscitelli said. “We have ponds and flowering trees. It’s like another world.”
Generations of the Bernhardt family, which founded the orchards, still own, operate and reside on the 107-year-old farm.
The farmstand carries a variety of locally sourced and organically grown edibles, including their own raw honey, Jersey tomatoes, apple and pumpkin butters, and jams. They offer tours of the farm, and also on-site is the Inn at Indian Orchards, a converted farmhouse that rents on Airbnb.
3325 Creamery Road
All pick-your-own fruit is priced by the pound for whatever you pick, with no additional charges.
Pick-your-own season begins June 20, when blueberries and cherries, sweet and sour, will be available. Blueberries continue to ripen through July, but cherries will only be available for picking through June.
A wide selection of flowers are available during the summer. You can wade through waist-high flowers to create bouquets in the cutting garden.
During weekends in September, October and the first weekend of November, there are wagon rides through the orchards for apple picking.
The orchards, which span about 80 acres, grow a range of fruits and berries. The main crops are apples, peaches and blueberries, with smaller acreage of pears, plums, apricots, cherries and blackberries.
Brian Smith, who started Solebury Orchards in 1985, still runs the farm today. Cider pressing began in the early years of the farm and Solebury Orchards Cider can be found throughout the area today. The market is open from late June through March to buy whatever is in season.