It can be hard to teach children that food comes from farms rather than from supermarkets. One great way to show them where their food comes from, along with a healthy dose of exercise and fresh air, is get them out to a farm.
Homestead Farm grows a variety of produce and has pick-your-own opportunities from May through October, including tart cherries, strawberries,
We recently visited Homestead Farm to pick blueberries. Our first stop was to the farm store to purchase buckets. We bought some animal feed to feed chickens and goats while we waited for the tractor to take us to the blueberry fields. My son thought this was the best part of our visit to the farm. The goats have their own “playground” with ramps and slides and we enjoyed watching them play. The tractor ride was a short, but fun, ride. Once in the field, we stayed about a half-hour gathering blueberries. Some families stayed longer and you are free to pick for as long as you wish until boarding a tractor to take you back to the store. My kids, ages 2.5 and 5.5 were easily able pick blueberries by themselves. However, if you are going for quantity plan on having an adult do a lot picking as well.
If you go, you can bring your own containers or purchase buckets for $1.50 each. We recommend that each child have their own container so that they don’t need to pick from the same place. Containers can be just about anything. We saw berries being placed in baskets, Tupperware, bowls, buckets, and bags. If you bring your own container, stop at the store first to have your container weighed and the weight of the container will be deducted from the weight of produce when you check-out.
You may need to wait about 15 minutes for the tractor to take you to the fields to pick. To prevent children from getting bored, there are farm animals to watch and feed while you are waiting. Food can be purchased in the store for $0.50 a cup. Some families chose to walk to the fields. While it might be a nice walk in mild weather, it is a long walk and not recommended in hot temperatures.
The farm store sells a variety of produce grown on the farm, along with some jams and drinks. There are several picnic tables set up under a covered structure for eating lunch. There is also ample room available for picnics, including near a large pond.
Parking is available adjacent to the farm store. There are several port-a-potties near the store as well as a baby changing station. During our visit, we saw several families with strollers. Although not easy, many strollers were hoisted onto the tractor and pushed through the fields. We recommend that you travel light when going into the fields to pick as you will be moving around and bending a lot. But, don’t forget some water and a camera.
It is highly recommended that you call Homestead Farms at 301-977-3761 before heading out. Hours vary widely depending on the selection and weather. Hours can change daily in variable conditions, but normally begin around 9am and end around noon to 2pm. Prices of produce vary as well, but during our visit blueberries were $2.59 per pound and flowers were $0.40 a stem. There is a minimum purchase of one pound of produce per person (2 and up). So, if you go with a family of four, you will need to purchase at least four pounds of produce. There is no maximum amount, so pick to your heart’s content! Credit cards are accepted.
Photos by Jamie Davis Smith.