The District has great farmers' markets, but that doesn't mean you should limit yourself to the fresh fruits and veggies down the street. (Or at your local supermarket, for that matter.) Instead, plan a day trip to a local pick-your-own farm which comes with the added bonus of healthy treats, like blueberries, peaches, and tart cherries. We can attest that produce you've picked yourself somehow tastes sweeter, juicier, and more delish than the alternative. Ahead, we're highlighting six farms within driving distance of D.C., each with a variety of produce for your perusal. So, reserve yourself a Zipcar, pack a floppy hat, and prepare to get your hands (a little) dirty.
Rock Hill Orchard
Rock Hill has a special place in our hearts because of their awesome variety. In addition to fields full of fruits and veggies, the farm also offers areas where you can cut your own herbs and flowers — perfect for making bouquets for a wedding or centerpieces for a party. Admission is free. Closed on Mondays; pick-your-own hours are 10 a.m. to close.
28600 Ridge Road, Mount Airy; 301-831-7427.
Hollin Farms in Delaplane is one of our favorite pick-your-own spots. The farm is just about an hour from D.C., but you'll feel like you're a world away: Rolling green hills surround the fields, where you can pick strawberries, peaches, Swiss chard, spinach, and more. Admission is free. Open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1410 Snowden Road, Delaplane; 540-592-3701.
Photo: Courtesy of Rock Hill Orchard/Andrea Hallett
A third-generation family-owned farm about 45 minutes from the District, this Germantown operation is known primarily for fruit, which makes it a perfect summer day trip destination. Blueberries, cherries, blackberries, peas, and more are available to pick on your own. Admission is free. Open Tuesday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown; 301-972-3299.
Great Country Farms
During the summer, you can pick, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, and assorted veggies at this farm complex roughly two hours outside D.C. But there's more than just picking happening here: Great Country Farms also offers hayrides, lots of delicious homemade products in the country store, and even a dog park on the grounds. Admission is $10 for adults on weekdays; $12 on weekends. Open seven days a week, May through October, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont; 540-554-2073.
Photo: Courtesy of Butler's Orchard
This small family farm specializes in fruit picking, including peaches, blueberries, and summer apples (for those of you who can't wait until fall for apple pie). The orchard is right near the breathtakingly beautiful Skyline Drive, so if you have some extra time, take a few hours and gawk at the views. Admission is free. Open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3064 Hartland Lane, Markham; 540-364-2316.
This charming farm grows all sorts of fruits and veggies, including cherries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, beets, squash, and tomatoes. Don't feel like picking them yourself? You can shop the fully-stocked market. Bonus: The farm focuses on minimizing the use of pesticides. Admission is free. Closed on Mondays; summer hours vary.
2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine; 301-854-6110.
Photo: Courtesy of McKenzie Goetz