Picture strolling through the field or row of fruit trees in the warm autumn light. There are no screens in sight, only your family’s smiles and the sound of their happy voices. If this sounds good, why not plan an afternoon bonding in an orchard, pumpkin patch, or corn maze? Here’s how to make some memories (and score the best apples, pumpkins, and more) on one of the Shenandoah Valley’s farms and orchards this fall.
Before You Go:
- Remember to check what’s in season on this calendar and call the farm ahead of time to see what’s available.
- Bring your camera and capture those Instagrammable moments.
Apples and Other Fruit
70-acre Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouses (Timberville) welcomes fall with Stayman, Pink Lady and dozens of other types of apples that you can pick from their trees. Refresh after picking with a glass of sweet or hard cider. You can even spend the weekend taking in the beautiful farm views in one of the three new on-farm lodging options. Nearby Ryan’s Fruit Market (Timberville) sells several types of pick-your-own apples as well as apples from the farm market. You’ll also find apple cider, apple butter, and locally foraged mushrooms. Throughout the growing season, they sell delicious cherries, peaches, and seasonal vegetables.
Whether you prefer your apples sweet or tart, you’ll find your favorite taste at Winchester’s Marker-Miller Orchards. Varieties for picking include Stayman, Golden Delicious, Rome, and more. You can also enjoy the pumpkin patch and cut-your-own seasonal flowers. There’s a kids’ play area and apple cider donuts to make your day even better. Another way to score big in the apple game is at Mackintosh Fruit Farm (Berryville). Check the pick-your-own schedule for what’s on the trees including Evercrisp, Golden Delicious, and Pink Lady. Enliven your fall decor with a selection of zinnias, and pumpkins and gourds from the pumpkin patch. The kitchen shop sells fresh treats like beet salad, fruit pies, and jams and jellies. See the schedule for the upcoming pumpkin carving contest.
You might have missed this year’s crop of grapes, but mark next year’s calendar for the end of August when the crops of Concord and Niagara grapes start to ripen at Wenger Grapes (Stuarts Draft).
The pick-your-own season at Pebble Hall Wildflowers (Weyers Cave) stretches from March to October. Ornamental grasses are lovely now, and you can also find beautiful herbs and zinnias. Here’s a calendar that gives a monthly overview of blooms. Harrisonburg’s White Oak Lavender Farm offers self-guided audio tours, seasonal you-pick lavender, lavender products in the fragrant farm store, lavender ice cream, and Purple WOLF wine. Kids will love meeting the farm animals and exploring the farm’s discovery area.
Want to pick up a fresh-grown, just-because bouquet on the way home from work? How about something special for your kid’s teacher? The self-serve flower stand at Cabin Hill Farm (Mount Jackson) features a beautiful variety (over 100 types) of seasonal flowers. Pay for your bouquet using the honor system.
While you can’t pick the flowers at Luray’s three-acre Birdsong Pleasure Garden, you can sign up for a tour and take home lots of ideas for your gardens at home. You’ll see perennials, veggies, orchards, herbs, bonsai, water features, statues, and more. The gardens have many paths, swings, and conversational areas, great for relaxing and seeking inspiration.
Swisher’s Farm (Fairfield) has a large selection of pumpkins for decorating, carving, or cooking. You’ll also find gourds, cornstalks, and other fall-themed items. Swisher’s is open throughout the growing season, providing fresh-picked goodness for your table. If you’re looking for lots of pumpkins in the Grottoes area, the family-operated pumpkin patch at Middle River Farm opens each September and sells over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their $35 wagonload deal is one of the best around!
Every Soul Acres (Keezletown) sells sunflowers in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, and Christmas trees in the winter. Enjoy the breathtaking views from their you-pick pumpkin patch or grab a pumpkin from the pre-picked selection. The farm will be hosting local vendors and kids’ activities on select days. Luray’s Valley Star Farm offers a weekend pumpkin-picking experience with beautiful views. Return later in the season to pick a hand-sheared Christmas tree from over 20 acres of candidates. Head to family-owned Mulberry Hills Pumpkin Patch (Mount Crawford) for all your autumnal decorating supplies. You’ll find many varieties of pumpkins and gourds as well as straw bales, corn shocks, and mums. On weekends, you can take hayrides and get to know a menagerie of friendly animals.
Winchester’s The Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard features a fall pumpkin patch. And though you might have missed sunflower season this year, make plans for next because the 3-acre field has been named one of the country’s top three by the Pioneer Woman! Check the schedule for live music. The fun field at Hartland Orchard (Markham) isn’t open in 2021, but there are plenty of pumpkins to pick from the farm’s patches. Finally, Sycamore Banks Farm (Mount Jackson) raises farm-grown produce and meats year round. Spend a peaceful afternoon in the farm’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch pretending you live in a different era while bumping along on old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon ride.
Corn Mazes and More Fall Fun
Want to be a hero to your kids? Take them to Rockingham County’s Back Home on the Farm. Not only can you pick over 60 varieties of pumpkins, but there’s a big corn maze, slides, ziplines, wagon rides, farm animals, games, a “spook-takular enchanted garden,” and much more. Troyer’s Fruit and Produce Farm (Waynesboro) specializes in summer strawberries, but they get into the fall spirit, too, with a pumpkin patch, a big corn maze, and a fall-themed Virginia LOVEworks sign. Luray’s Fairview Fun Farm will also pack your day with activity. Not only can you pick the perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, but you can get lost in the corn maze, ride the “Tongue-Biter” mega slide or the hayride, join a pumpkin painting activity, and much more.
Take the family to the Pumpkin Patch at Edgewood Dairy where you’ll find more than 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds, decorations, as well as a corn maze, scavenger hunt, and set of pumpkin slingshots for a friendly launching competition. Don’t miss the Halloween costume contest for kids 3-12. Wayside Farm Fun (Berryville) has lots of pumpkins, apples, and all kinds of fall fun including a giant Pokemon-themed corn maze, hay rides, slides, pumpkin cannons, and a chance to burn off some steam by smashing pumpkins! The you-pick field has many varieties, and there are fresh donuts waiting for you when you finish picking.
If you want to steer clear of the fields, Oak Hart Farm (Berryville) has pumpkins, squashes, and apples for sale in the farm store along with fruits, veggies, and wildflowers. Choose from their rainbow of mums for your autumnal display. In addition to items from the field, you’ll find cheeses, snacks, bulk food items, potted plants, pickling kits, canning supplies, and personalized gift baskets.
Nalls Farm Market, also in Berryville supports small farms by selling only local produce like fruits, vegetables, and pumpkins. You’ll also find flowers, plants, honey, baked goods, and Amish lawn furniture.
Take your appetite to Farmers Daughter (Boyce) and indulge in a hearty BBQ sandwich and a side of Amish macaroni or potato salad. You’ll also find fruits, veggies, baked goods, and fresh, farm-raised meats for purchase.
Massanutten Country Corner sells produce, farm-raised dairy, beef, lamb, and honey. You’ll also find baked goods, homemade pasta, and candy, as well as coffee and tea. Stock up on gardening supplies, hand-crafted metal decor, and native plants. There’s also an Artisan’s Gallery that features art, jewelry, garden-themed gifts, and products made from recycled wine barrels, bottles, and corks.
Family-operated Heard’s Cedar Hill Farm Market sells Shenandoah Valley meats, produce, desserts, dairy, jams, jellies, and works by area artists. You’ll also find bacon, scrapple, sausage, farm-raised eggs, fresh and juicy fruit, and syrups. The market often hosts live music on Saturdays as well as food trucks.
The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is another good place to find already picked produce, meats, seasonal items, flowers, and more. The market is held in the open-air Turner Pavilion, which provides shelter from the elements, plenty of parking, and is close to a Virginia LOVEworks sculpture. There’s often live music. Finally, celebrate community at the Clarke County Farmers’ Market with locally grown produce and products. Regional vendors sell vegetables, meat, bakery items, eggs, cheese, plants, and brightly colored floral arrangements. Look for food trucks and live music on Saturdays.
Check out all of the Farmers’ Markets in the Shenandoah Valley for delicious seasonal pr HERE!