Pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farms are becoming destinations for families looking to inject a lot of fun and a little learning into their next “shopping” trip. Skip the supermarket chain and go directly to the source for everything from blackberries to peaches to vine-ripened grapes. We might be living the urban American lifestyle, but there are still plenty of farmers sprinkled throughout the area who are willing to open their doors and give their time to families looking for a lesson in agriculture. We rounded up a few of the best spots for families looking to get out of the produce aisle and back to their roots.
Blueberry Hill Farm in Edom, about 20 miles west of Tyler, invites families to fill picking buckets (provided) with organically-grown blueberries and blackberries. Blueberries cost $2.95 per pound; blackberries run $3 per pound. After working up a sweat harvesting, cool off with a blueberry ’n cream pie or blueberry lemonade from the bakery or blueberry frozen yogurt from the store. Take your blueberries home and whip up some delicious sweet treats—check their website for blueberry recipes like the blueberry pound cake and blueberry cobbler. The season begins Memorial Day weekend and lasts through July. The farm is open seven days a week, 7am-5pm (including Father’s Day and the Fourth of July).
10268 FM 314, Edom, 903/852-6175
Take kids of all ages to experience the fields and stables at Cypress Lake Ranch in Bonham, a one- to two-hour drive northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, herbs and beets are just some of the goodies you’ll find here, but the open farm days are the real attraction for youngsters. For $5 per person, families try their hands at milking the goats, feeding the cows, chickens, ducks, ponies and horses during a three-hour experience. Purchase a $5 pony ride on top of admission and ask about birthday parties and riding lessons at the farm too. Classes offered also include lessons on making cheese, bread and jam. Private tours of the farm are available.
Make it a day (or longer) at The Greer Farm in Daingerfield, just shy of a three-hour drive east of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Spend a few hours picking blueberries and thornless blackberries for $3.25 per pound. If you can’t get enough of the rural life, then reserve a private overnight cabin to experience the life of a farmer. The kids can bottle-feed lambs, gather chicken eggs and pick vegetables by day, then roast s’mores at night. Take advantage of a Farm to Fork cooking classes while you’re there and have your goods picked out. Cooking classes are scheduled through July 21. Private group classes are also available, register online. The farm is open daily from 7:30am–5:30pm.
1444 CR 1125, Daingerfield, 903/645-3232
Families can pick from the pizza plot and organic vegetable garden at Henrietta Creek Orchard. Harvest black eyed peas, okra, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onions and more (check Facebook for updates on crop availability). Or come to the family field trips ($9 per person; kids 2 and younger are free), where you’ll learn about bee pollination, butterflies, worm composting and where our food comes from. Call ahead to reserve your spots. And mark your calendars now for apple picking in the fall, which starts mid-September and lasts through October.
14255 Old Denton Road, Roanoke, 817/439-3202
The family-owned Lavon Farms in Plano is home to a small group of top-of-the-line cows that provide Grade “A” raw milk on a daily basis. Make an appointment before stopping in at 5:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday for a walking tour of the farm. The 30-minute tour consists of photo ops with the heifers and a demonstration in the milking parlor, with the milking process explained. The tour costs $3 per person. Don’t leave before stopping by the farm store to stock up on dairy goods. Lavon Farms’ raw milk is sold by the gallon ($10) along with various cheeses, unsalted butter, yogurt, eggs and other treats from local vendors.
3721 N. Jupiter Road, Plano, 972/423-8080
Father-daughter duo, Jack and Megan, are the primary farmers of Pure Land Farm, where you and the kiddos will find food favorites like carrots, lettuce, kale, radishes, onions and green garlic. The picking season is open now through the end of July. During the month of June, you’ll find sweet favorites such as thornless blackberries, green beans, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and more (our mouths are watering already)! Crops are charged per pound and buckets will be provided. Reserve a spot online before heading over—open slots are regularly announced on Facebook. The farm is open every Wednesday and Sunday through the end of July from 9am–noon. The entrance fee is $2 per picker. Happy picking!
7505 County Road 201, McKinney, 469/795-8585
For blueberry-picking fun with the kiddos, head over to Blase Family Farm in Rockwall. Mini buckets are provided for the little ones, but you’re able to bring your own if you’d like. The farm follows organic practices and is equipped with shaded picnic tables for a perfect day of outdoor picking and snacking. And while you’re getting your cookbooks out for all the delicious blueberry recipes, take a page from Jill Blase, owner of Blase Family Farm. She makes blueberry popsicles from scratch that are available for purchase. We also hear the farm has a beautiful path to the blueberries—don’t forget to bring your polaroid for all the photos you’ll want to frame.
1232 East Fork Drive, Rockwall; 972/772-3645
Just northwest of Denton is WOW U-Pick Farms, LLC, in Krum, that is full of fresh produce (no sprays or pesticides on these foods) for a tasty, organic taste. The produce is grown through hydroponics, which puts the plants in a water-based and nutrient-rich solution. Near mid- to late-March, the farm has strawberries for picking. Come summer (late May to June), there are tomatoes, red bell peppers, garlic, potatoes, okra, yellow and green squash, and more to fill up your pantry. Plans for blackberries and other produce will come in a couple of years (yes, patience is the key to farming).
7271 Donald Road, Krum; 940/312-9889
Strawberry fields forever—at least that’s what it seems like at Storm Farms in Arlington. The third weekend in March until the first weekend in June is strawberry picking prime time. You pay by the pound, and it’s $10 per pound. Around the same time as strawberry season, you and the kiddos can pick tulips until the first weekend in May for only $2 a stem. In the heat of the summer, watermelons are available at $3 for a 5-pounder or $7 for a family-sized one. Once the warm weather goes away, there are fall gourds and pumpkins for sale from the last weekend in September until Halloween. The prices range from 50 cents for a baby pumpkin up to $100 for a giant pumpkin (the kind that takes two people to carry). There will only be 25 to 30 giant pumpkins, so act quick. For the regular-sized pumpkins and gourds, expect to pay around $7–10.
3010 S. Bowen Road, Arlington; 817/602-0668
Be sure to call ahead before visiting any farm or orchard. Hours, prices and produce vary by location and season. Visit pickyourown.org for an extensive list of pick-your-own farms and orchards.
Originally published May 2018.