If you enjoy paying a weekly visit to the farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables, then chances are you’re going to fall in love with the experience of visiting a “U-Pick” farm. As the name implies, you actually harvest the produce you wish to purchase at one of these farms. The benefits of this business model include reduced burdens on farmers (from labor to transportation costs), lower prices and fresher food. If you want to get even closer to the source of your nutrition, shopping at a U-Pick farm is the way to do it.
Although the summer — and, with it, prime picking season — are now behind us now, U-Pick farms around the DFW Metroplex are gearing up for their autumn festivities. So grab the family and a few reusable bags and head to one of these local U-Pick locations.
Note: Before visiting any of the following, make sure to call first and confirm they’re open as conditions can change quickly.
With fall officially starting this month, it’s apple-picking time. There’s no better place to fill your bushels than Henrietta Creek Apple Orchard (14255 Old Denton Rd., Roanoke, TX). Located in northern Tarrant County, this delightful orchard is home to over 500 hybrid dwarf apple trees, over 200 peach trees and even a “pizza” garden filled with fresh tomatoes, peppers and garlic. From September to October, you can expect to find six different apple cultivars ripe for the picking, including Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Winesap and Enterprise. Before leaving, make sure to also stop by the Apple House, where you can purchase homemade preserves, jellies, salsa, honey and fruit butters made from the orchard’s bounty.
But picking isn’t just limited to fresh fruit. Why not pick some fall nuts? That’s the idea behind Sunnyvale Pecan Orchard (137 Rebecca Rd., Sunnyvale, TX) in far eastern Dallas County. Despite the abundance of pecan trees in the area, Sunnyvale is the only pick-your-own pecan orchard in DFW. At just a quick 15-minute drive from Downtown Dallas, the orchard’s rural setting will nevertheless make you feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Sunnyvale is home to some of the best pecans in Texas, and a pound of these beauties will run you only $3. Harvesting season is October through December, and there’s a $5 admission fee per family that goes towards preserving the orchard. Can’t wait until you get home to sample what you’ve harvested? The orchard’s proprietors almost always have a pecan cracker handy.
What’s fall without a bright orange pumpkin on your doorstep? Take your pick (pun intended) when you visit the Blase Family Farm (1232 E. Fork Rd., Rockwall, TX), which will open its annual pumpkin patch to the public on September 29. Located just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard, this farm caters to families and offers hayrides, a petting zoo and even complimentary hot dogs in exchange for the $8-per-person admission fee on weekends. The patch is home to jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, pie pumpkins and specialty pumpkins. The farm is also known for its pick-your-own blueberry patch, set to reopen in summer 2019.
Similarly, Wild Berry Farm (905 Crawford Rd., Sadler, TX) is preparing for its pumpkin picking season, the first day of which coincides with the Autumnal Equinox — September 22. In addition to a classic pumpkin patch, Wild Berry also grows pick-your-own sunflowers throughout October. These unique additions are sure to brighten your home decor. Farm admission is $12 on weekends and includes other family-friendly activities such as hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin bowling, fossil digging, pumpkin tic-tac-toe and more. And, if you choose to make a return trip to Grayson County to survey Wild Berry’s fields in summer 2019, you’ll find plenty of pick-your-own strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.