Pick-Your-Own Crops

23 Jul

fresh, tart cherries

If you have been enjoying our city’s farmer’s markets this summer, consider spicing up your routine and heading straight to the farm. An up-close-and-personal produce adventure is waiting for you just an hour north of the city. Larriland Farm, near Columbia, MD, provides “Pick Your Own Crops,” which is not only an excellent learning opportunity – for all ages – but also an affordable and experiential way to bring home fresh fruits and vegetables.working upside down in a strawberry field

It’s as easy as driving up to a field, grabbing a container, and pulling the produce from the ground or off the tree. Pick as much as you would like, pay by the pound, and head to the next field. They even encourage you to enjoy your picking experience by nibbling on your bounty as you go.

blueberry check-out line

I love eating fresh blueberries and strawberries every morning for breakfast, so I try to time my visits around berry season. Last month, I picked cherries, strawberries and blueberries straight from the vine, and last year, I successfully picked the most delectable and fragrant raspberries I have ever set my eyes on. I have had a hard time not thinking about those raspberries. I wanted to set up camp and move in to that field.

Before setting off on your adventure, find out when the different crops are ripening by visiting their website, http://www.pickyourown.com, and click on “Pick Your Own Crops.” They update the website daily, and it’s important to read it before you go to make sure the crop is actually open the day you are going.

Currently, you can pick your own Superior red plums, red raspberries, red beets, sweet onions, and leeks, and in the next few weeks Red Haven peaches, yellow raspberries, and potatoes will ripen.

I’m looking forward to branching out this year and heading back in the fall. There are so many more crops yet to ripen: blackberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes, and every imaginable variety of apples. And in October, they will have hayrides, a straw maze, and homemade apple cider.

blueberries by the pound

Larriland Farms is open every weekend from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through the first Sunday in November, so even if you can’t make it for a few weeks, you have some time to plan ahead. There is no entrance fee, all forms of payment are accepted at each of the kiosks, and picking containers are provided. Prices are determined by the market, but are slightly less expensive than decent grocery store produce (you pick your own quality!).

strawberries by the pound

If you are uncertain of your ability to figure out how to pull a blueberry from a tree, don’t fret. It’s just as simple as it sounds, but should you have any concerns, there are a number of uniformed instructors willing to direct you to a good spot and answer any questions.

blueberry bunch

For those of you who have only been apple picking, I highly recommended you segue into other produce. You won’t be able to pick them all during one visit, but each visit will give you a little more confidence to try a new crop, as well as peak your interest in returning for the next adventure.

And as just a day-trip from DC, you could frequent the farm as much as the market.


If you aren’t located in the Washington area, visit http://www.pickyourown.ORG to find a farm near you.

Larriland Farm is located at 2415 Woodbine Rd, Woodbine, MD 21797. It is in western Howard County, west of Columbia, Maryland, and 3 miles south of 1-70 (exit 73) on Route 94. Drive your vehicles up to and between the different picking fields.


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