By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
It’s something that all families in Northern Virginia should experience — strawberry picking! Have you done it? This is a great way to spend some fun family time outdoors, and trust me, the berries you pick will be so fresh, sweet, ripe, and juicy that you will see a huge difference between them and the store-bought kind!
Strawberry picking is something most people can do easily, and you go home with healthy, fresh-from-the-farm treats. Want to try this yourself? Wegmeyer Farms has a special offer for Fairfax Family Fun readers: a nice 25% discount! See below for details, photos from our recent strawberry picking visit this year, and tips to make the most of your U-pick session.
Whether you want to pick just a few strawberries to enjoy now and in the near future, or to pick large amounts for cooking and canning, picking fresh strawberries lets you do just that. At Wegmeyer Farms, the fields are now open for picking! Plus, Wegmeyer Farms is offering a 25% discount for you Fairfax Family Fun readers when you come and pick on any weekday (Monday-Friday) this season at one of their three locations! There is no charge to visit, and you only pay for what you pick, so this is a great way to pick exactly what you want and to save money, too. The picking hours for all locations are usually between 9 am and 6 pm, but sometimes a bit later. Occasionally, they have extended hours, so you can always call 540-751-1782 to confirm times for the day when you want to go.
Wegmeyer Farms has three U-pick locations in Northern Virginia:
- Hamilton, VA, boutique farm setting – Tucked away on back roads of Lincoln (between Purcellville and Leesburg) at a historic homestead, this farm provides the most scenic views of rolling farmlands. The location has picnic tables for you to bring your own lunch or enjoy refreshments available for sale. After you pick berries, kids can play on the John Deere tractor slide and playground. Address: 38299 Hughesville Road, Hamilton, VA.
- Historic Oatlands – The strawberry patch and era-themed attire at this historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800s. While visiting the strawberry patch is free, you can make a full day of it by purchasing tour passes for the historical garden and/or mansion in addition to strawberry picking. Address: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg, VA.
- Gilbert’s Corner – Enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state. This no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. Parking is available onsite. Address: The Intersection of Route 15 and Route 50 in Aldie, VA.
Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, strawberries are one of the most nutritious and popular you-pick fruits in our area. Don’t worry about seeing strawberries on lists such the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” because of pesticide use and cleanliness issues. That’s usually for store-bought berries, but the fresh, local berries at Wegmeyer are safe to eat straight off the vine. And the farm’s strawberries are grown on raised plastic beds, which keeps the berries clean and dirt-free, and which makes for easier picking, too.
Planning a visit? See our tips below!
- Strawberry-picking season typically is between May and June. It’s a good idea to call the strawberry field hotline at 540-751-1782 to check field conditions before heading out to any of the farm’s locations.
- Do some stretching before you go, and at times during your picking: when you’re picking strawberries you are low to the ground and doing a repetitive motion to reach for the fruit, so take good care to avoid back pain later.
- The 25% discount for Fairfax Family Fun readers is only good Monday-Friday, and only for the strawberry picking, not other purchases or tours. To claim your discount, simply mention Fairfax Family Fun at check-out.
- Wegmeyer offers one-gallon picking containers which you will get when you check in at the strawberry hut. Berries are sold by the pound ($3.99) and you pay only for what you pick.
- See the bottom of the this Wegmeyer website page for tips on best times to pick (early or late in the day), what to wear (red or dark colors), how to transport the berries, and more.
- Fresh strawberries make great gifts! See our ideas below!
As you can see on the photo below, one bucketful yields a lot of strawberries! We filled two buckets to the very top, which gave us about 10 pounds of strawberries, enough to “share the wealth.” When I got home, I spread them on a cookie sheet to do one last check for any damaged berries, loose stems, or other issues (in the photo below you see only what was in one pail!).
Here is how we shared the berries:
- I had saved some containers from previously store-bought blueberries and other items. Wash these out and add one of the stickers you can get at Wegmeyer for great presentation! (You also can use disposable plastic containers.)
- We distributed containers to several groups, including my son’s classmates, the school’s front office, some medical offices, and a friend’s party. Fresh strawberries make a great treat for health-conscious places!
- You also can add other items, such as the Wegmeyer Farms strawberry jam or the Fabiolli Cellars strawberry wine that the farm sells, adding some crackers and other items, to make it a full gift basket!
All images (c) P. Hall
Disclosure: My family received a complimentary pick-your-own session. The writing and opinions here are my own.