“Let’s go apple picking,” my husband and I say to each other around this time. It’s late September and officially fall, but with a few days still flirting with 80-degree temperatures, it can be hard to get into the mood.
But according to Shannon Davenport of Hollin Farms in Delaplane, there’s no better time than the present.
“The high season is now! Davenport said in a recent interview. “Right now we have at least 10 varieties of apples available.” The pumpkin harvest, she added, is “the best in years,” due to additional rains that fell in northern and central Virginia during the generally drier summer months.
Guess we should pack up the kids and go to the farm. Pro tip: Always call the farms or check their Facebook pages before venturing out. The last thing you want is a car full of disappointed children because Mother Nature or overzealous pickers changed the availability of the desired harvest. Some favorite U-pick orchards nearby are listed below. Visit www.pickyourown.org/VAnorthern.htm for more Apple options and tips.
Hartland Orchard/Green Truck Farm
Owned by the same extended family, Hartland Orchard and Green Truck Farm are located just off Exit 18 on Interstate 66. Hartland is located at 3064 Hartland Lane in Markham and Green Truck is next door at 3015 Hartland Lane.
Visitors can pick their own apples at Hartland and choose from pumpkins, winter squash and raspberries at Green Truck. Fresh apple fritters are available. Visitors are asked to call ahead for hours of operation and fruit availability: 540-364-2316 for Hartland and 540-316-7715 for Green Truck. Note that Hartland Orchard only accepts cash or checks.
Across Exit 18 on I-66 is Stribling Orchard, 11587 Poverty Hollow Lane, Markham. There are 30 acres of apples and 20 varietals to choose from, as well as fresh cider, local eggs, beef, hot corn, honey, baked goods, apple sticks and more.
The orchard can be contacted at 540-364-3040 or online at https://www.striblingorchard.com. The farm is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Hours Wednesday through Sunday are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Note that the gate closes at 4:30 p.m. to ensure the 5 p.m. closing. The snack bar is open on weekends only and offers wine and live music.
Located at 1524 Snowden Road in Delaplane near Sky Meadows State Park, Hollin Farms offers more than a dozen varieties of apples (all clearly labeled for easy identification), pumpkins, squash and winter squash. pick-your-own and pre-picked vegetables, as well as an assortment of green vegetables.
Dig your own potatoes and peanuts, as well as sunflowers, are also available. Also, be sure to get a “made from scratch” apple fritter and pasture-raised beef. Call 540-623-8854 or visit the website (http://www.hollinfarms.com/) or Facebook page for hours of operation and crop availability.
Visitors willing to adhere to the farm’s “10 U-Pick Commandments” can pick their own forbidden fruits, such as pumpkins, apples and pears at Valley View Farm, located at 1550 Leeds Manor Road in Delaplane.
Locally produced ciders, wines, and meads are also available to taste and purchase on-site, along with guided cart rides and honey tastings. For more information, call 540-592-1021 or visit the webpage (https://www.valleyviewva.com/) for seasonal events like “dog days” and an end-of-season bonfire. The farm is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits on the planet. And now you have a full car. What am I going to do with them all, you wonder while nibbling on an apple donut.
I will continue the annual tradition of baking a few pies and making applesauce…maybe I fancy adding them to a two hour dinner recipe I will be working on, and no one will eat. At the very least, I’ll toss them in the kids’ lunchboxes while praying that the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” will prevail as cold and flu season hits our home.