Get outside, they tell us. The safest activities to do during this pandemic summer are the ones in the open air, under sunny skies or starry nights. When your family has exhausted the trails and parks, drive-in theaters and sandy beaches, another fun outdoor activity awaits—fruit picking. Here are five local farms that offer pick-your-own opportunities in August and September. Pack a mask and consult websites to find out how each farm is complying with COVID-19 safety protocols. Most will not let you bring your own containers this year; also, expect to make a reservation for a picking time.
Baugher’s Orchard, Westminster
Peaches, plums and nectarines are still around at the beginning of August at this family orchard—yum. Then get ready for apples, which Baugher’s has through October. In fact, there are nine varieties of apples, including Gala, Empire and Fuji. Picked fruit is priced by the pound, and social distancing is observed. No pets, coolers, backpacks, totes or other types of bags can be brought into the orchard. Baugher’s also has a farmer’s market and restaurant at a nearby location. Masks must be worn there, or when near any Baugher’s employee. Fruit picking is Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. baughers.com
Larriland Farms, Woodbine
There is a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for picking fun with little ones at this family farm in western Howard County, Maryland. Satisfy your sweet side with blueberries, red raspberries, seedless grapes, Asian pears and more than a dozen varieties of both peaches and apples. Mark your calendar for the autumn vegetable harvest with pumpkins starting in late September. Outside containers are not allowed, and social distancing is observed. Families who picked strawberries, for example, were assigned a row or location to pick. But there was plenty of room to spread out. Check website for hours and price ranges on all you-pick produce. pickyourown.com
Lohr’s Orchard, Churchville
This Harford County, family-owned farm offers apples and pumpkins for your picking pleasure. Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. lohrsorchard.com
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Maple Lawn Farms, New Park, Pennsylvania
These farmers know how to pivot. Not to be held back by a pandemic, Maple Lawn held its first ever drive-through cherry festival this year, only to be followed by a drive-through peach festival last month with peaches, baked goods, wine and barbecue. Sounds like we missed a good time! Pick-your-own apples should be available later this month, and pumpkins are coming in October. The farm will also host is annual Sunflower Festival this month, but with some accommodations. Check the website for picking hours and festival registration, which is required. Picking prices: $18/half bushel. maplelawnfarms.com
Weber’s Peachberry Farm, Parkville
Weber’s Peachberry Farm offers plenty of opportunities for fruit picking. Blackberries, peaches and apples are available in August and September; check the website or its Facebook page for daily availability. All pickers must place an order and pre-pay before their visit; social distancing and masks are required. No more than two pickers per quart of fruit are allowed. Curbside pickup is available and the farmers market remains open with its array of treats, including Weber’s well-known apple cider doughnuts. Check the website for hours, in-season fruit and more. weberscidermillfarm.com