Cherry & Apple Picking at Homestead Farms

Note: This review is from a previous year as at the time of publishing, the farm is just days away from opening. Pick your own tart cherries begins June 10th! What is available to pick changes throughout the year so check the Homestead Farms website for more details. Here you’ll find more about what to expect at the farm. Have fun!

I have heard many friends rave about Homestead Farms and I was ready to see what all the excitement is about.

Nestled on a country road not far from Potomac is a 230 acre farm which brings visitors from all over to pick and enjoy homegrown fruits and vegetables. The Allnutt family has been farming the land since 1763.

When my child and I arrived a little before noon, the grassy parking lot leading to the entrance was quite full. There was a happy bustle of people despite the recent rainfall and it being a hot, muggy day.

Inside the farm market, I asked for directions and a picking pole. The cashier stated to make a right by the animal pen and follow the small hill to the orchard; a three minute walk.

Cars, Wheelbarrows and Strollers oh my!

Cars are not allowed to drive to the orchard due to the setup of the farm with livestock and tractors present. I grabbed an industrial-sized wheelbarrow, or shall I say apple cart, and began hauling my four-and-a half year old across a rugged terrain.

Only all-terrain strollers will work as the surface is uneven with grass, gravel and broken cement pieces along the way. You are guaranteed a workout!

Picking Apples at Homestead Farms

Despite the farm’s phone recording which stated there were five varieties of apples, on the day of our visit there were only three kinds available for picking. Yes, the staff member was correct. The majority of the apples had already been picked over. Of the apples left on the tall branches, very few were worth picking.

In order to make it enjoyable for my daughter, I wheeled her deeper into the orchard and found some hidden beauties near the bottom of the trees.

We picked all the varieties they had:

  • Cameo
  • Suncrisp
  • and Fuji

Having never heard of Suncrisp, I did some research. Suncrisp is a crisp, firm yellow apple with a red blush. It is the result of cross-breeding Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Cox’s Orange Pippin apples.

On the way back, droves of people came carrying green bushels which are supplied by the farm. I would have liked for there to have been more of a variety of apples. I also understand though, that it is important to arrive early if you are interested in a certain type of fruit.

While $1.49 for a pound of apples didn’t make for a great deal, the novelty of picking fruit from the tree is a much more enjoyable experience than a trip to the grocery store. For you serious apple connoisseurs, pick 25 lbs. or more of apples for .99.

The Barn Animals at Homestead Farm

Another treat at Homestead Farm is visiting the barn animals. They have goats, sheep, piglets, hens, ducks, a turkey and a cow.

For .50, purchase a mini cup of food to feed the goats and sheep. My daughter coaxed two of them to come down the goat walk by shaking the cup of food. Kids will enjoy climbing on the nearby hay bales and tires located near the pond.

What to Expect (The Essentials)

Port-a-potties and hand sinks are located throughout the farm. It’s also a good idea to bring hand wipes, especially when petting the animals or rolling in the hay. There are also some photo cut-outs nearby which make for cute pictures. In front of the covered pavilion is a makeshift water fountain.

The Country Market

Homestead Farm has many edible temptations before you leave the facility. The country market carries:

  • honey made from bees on the farm
  • cold drinks
  • preservative-free apple cider
  • packaged ice-cream bars
  • jam
  • salsa
  • loaves from Spring Mill Bread Company
  • pumpkin cookies
  • brownies
  • pre-picked apples
  • and a variety of fall vegetables.

You can also purchase pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, hay bales and mums.

The Country Kitchen

The country kitchen sells homemade vegetable soup, hot dogs, chips, apple pie a la mode, pumpkin pie, soda, water, hot chocolate and hot cider.

I love everything apples and I salivated at the idea of a slice of homemade apple pie, but my heart was set on a caramel apple. Homestead Farm did not disappoint. They strategically had a stand that read and sold nothing but caramel apples. The $3 apple was a delicious Empire smothered in gooey caramel. Typing this makes me want another one!

While I couldn’t convince my daughter to visit the patch, I would like to return to pick some pumpkins. I was impressed with the friendly staff, ease and speed of checkout and the overall experience itself. As the saying goes…an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Plan your apple fix before the season ends at Homestead Farm.

Know Before You Go

  • Homestead Farm is re-opening on June 10th.
  • Tart cherry picking begins in June
  • Apple season usually starts in late-August / early-September and goes into late- October (usually)
  • Parking and admission are free.
  • Educational field trips are available for school and other groups. Reservations are required.
  • Other produce is available throughout the year based on planting and harvest times. Strawberries: May to June; Tart Cherries: July; Blackberries: July to August; Assorted Vegetables, Peaches & Nectarines: July to September; Pumpkins: September to October; Christmas trees and wreaths are for sale in December.
  • You can walk to the pumpkin patch, but on the weekends, hop on a hayride at $3 per person.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or rain boots because it can get muddy.

Photo by Kathleen Molloy

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