Our favorite simple summer pastime

 

Nothing captures the natural, simple joys of summer in the mountains like picking your own berries.

Whether you’re eating them right off the bush, making them into jams and jellies, or baking them into pies and cobblers, fresh-picked berries are truly nature’s candy.

Although there are plenty of wild patches of berries around the Mountain State, you’ll get more if you go to a “pick-your-own” farm. Seasons for some berries can be very brief, so it’s best to call and see how individual farm crops are doing.

Tip: If you want berries for pies or preserves, it’s best to pick them a bit earlier. If you just want to eat them fresh, they need to be a bit more ripe.

In general, strawberries mature in early June, blueberries are ready to pick in mid-June, raspberries a bit after that, and blackberries stay good until the autumn, or until they’ve all been picked.

Here are 5 of the best farms for pickin’ your own delicious berries:

 

Hand-picked strawberries at Orr's Farm Market, West Virginia

1. Orr’s Farm Market (Martinsburg)

This longstanding farm has roots going back to the Depression days of the 1930s, when it was a tiny little orchard. Since then, they’ve expanded to more than 1,100 acres, producing around a half-million bushels of fruit per year. They’ve even got a bison herd!

Despite the huge size, Orr’s is very much still a local, “market-style” farm. They’ve got just about every kind of berry you’d want to pick, as long as they’re in season. Strawberries are ready in May, blueberries in early June, black and red raspberries in late June, and blackberries from late July until the first frost.

2. White Oak Farm (Renick)

White Oak Farm specializes in blueberries, which are in season in early summer. You can pick your own blueberries by the pound, or buy them already picked for a few dollars more.

 

Fresh, hand-picked blueberries, West Virginia

3. Shady Oaks Blueberry Farm (Poca)

Shady Oaks farm sells 100% organic blueberry bushes so that you can grow your own– everything from small cuttings up to 3-year-old rooted bushes. But, if you just want a quick berry fix, you can pick your own blueberries and red raspberries in the summer.

4. Morgan Orchard (Sinks Grove)

This beautiful orchard in the Greenbrier River Valley has a lot of fruit you can pick in the fall– dozens of varieties of apples, peaches, plums and nectarines. Morgan Orchard also has quite a few blackberries and raspberries.

5. You Pick, You Eat Berry Patch (Salem)

This is a locally owned, all-organic operation. You can pick blackberries and both black and red raspberries, as well as different varieties of nuts. Because of the fairly small nature of this great farm, you’ll want to call them to make sure they’re open.

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This post was last updated on October 19, 2017