The Essential Guide To Apple-Picking In D.C.

If the endless tweets we're seeing about pumpkin-spiced lattes are any indication, fall flavors are officially in season — and while pumpkin might be autumn's most obvious ingredient of choice, a crisp, juicy apple makes a strong second-place showing. And, not that we need an excuse to pull out the flat boots, Barbour jackets, and plaid, but an apple-picking outing presents the perfect opportunity to debut our rustic-chic duds.
Several farms within an easy drive of the District offer orchards full of plump, ripe fruit, ready for plucking from the branch. And since everybody loves local produce and farm-to-table eating, we highly recommend scooping a bushel to take home and make your own cider, apple butter, a flaky pie, you name it. Here are our picks for the best farms for DIY bushel-filling — but be sure to book that Zipcar soon, because there are only a few more weeks left in peak apple season.

Hollins Farms

This farm has been owned by the same family for four generations (and is open year-round, so remember that for peach season). In addition to apple orchards, you can dig for peanuts and potatoes, or buy cuts of pasture-raised beef and pork.

11324 Pearlstone Lane, Delaplane; 540-592-3701.

Rock Hill Orchard

Rock Hill Orchard grows 20 different varieties of apple — you'll find Melrose, Suncrisp, and Rome at their peak right about now — so you'lll get a bit of an apple education as you pick. Pumpkins, okra, and kale are among the other produce options you'll find in season right now.

28600 Ridge Road, Mount Airy; 301-831-7427.

Great Country Farms

Offering a market full of local produce and hand-crafted goods, barnyard personalities that include Elmer the potbelly pig and Clover the miniature cow, and some kind of festival almost every month, the pick-your-own area is just part of the full day's worth of farm activity here.

18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont; 540-554-2073.

Larriland Farm

Want the full (adorable) farm experience? In addition to apple orchards, Larriland offers tractor-pulled hayrides through the fields and along a charming creek, and you can even reserve an evening ride that ends around a cozy campfire. Sweetest fall date idea ever? We think so.

2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine; 410-442-2605.

Butler's Orchard
This Montgomery County farm has been supplying fresh produce to Washingtonians for over 60 years, and currently offers pick-your-own apples, dig-your-own potatoes, and even cut-your-own flowers for the perfect centerpiece when you serve up your totally DIY feast. So Martha!

22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown; 301-972-3299.

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