Visit the South's Most Unique U-Pick Farms
Remember the warm summer days spent at a u-pick blueberry or strawberry farm with the family? Let's relive those days with a fresh batch of farms, ripe for the picking. U-pick farms are a beloved summer and fall destination with the opportunity to harvest your own produce. Go beyond the usual offerings at these 10 farms, from an ethereal Florida orange grove to a sixth-generation peach orchard, who are doing everything from employing responsible agricultural practices to cultivating less-common fruits.
The Hixson family has owned and operated Hillcrest Farm for over 40 years. Here, you'll find u-pick blackberries, blueberries, and muscadine and scuppernong grapes. Additionally, figs, persimmons, pears, satsumas, lemons, and kumquats are available in their farm store. Don't forget a jar of jam or jelly, plus honey from their beehives.
Prices: $2.25 per pound.
Wonderfield Farm & Grove
Floral City, Florida
Wonderfield Farm becomes a wonderland on 66 acres of orange groves, cypress swamps, and pastureland. The Hubbard Family has rehabilitated the forgotten land, where the orange trees have managed to thrive in the understory of the oak, maple, and magnolia trees. They now offer tangerines, amber sweet, navel, Valencia, and honey bell oranges for u-pick with plans to offer avocados, mangoes, peaches, guavas, mulberries, and more. After you're done harvesting, wander down a waterfront trail, feed the cows, or have a picnic on the grounds. You can further step into old-world Florida with an overnight stay on one of the properties, including a farmhouse and a cottage.
Prices: $35 for 15 pounds of fruit.
Mulberry Orchard is owned by the husband-and-wife team Amanda and Matt Gajdzik. Together, they farm plums, pears, tomatoes, vegetables, and melons in addition to their own honey and finished beef. Sunflowers, apples, and pumpkins are available for u-pick, and you can find an array of products and other produce in their farm store. If you want to make a day of it, grab a bite at Mulberry Kitchen, sit in a rocking chair, and enjoy the scenery while the kids run around the play area.
Graham, North Carolina
Benjamin Vineyards has the unique distinction of being the first licensed winery in Alamance County, North Carolina, since Prohibition. Though no longer producing wine, the vineyard is still a u-pick operation, allowing guests to wander the thousands of grapevines over eight acres of land. There are 14 varieties of muscadine grapes, which are grown without pesticides and using sustainable farming practices.
Prices: $12 per one-gallon bucket; $18 per 1½-gallon bucket; $24 per two-gallon bucket.
Many Rivers Farm
Bahama, North Carolina
At Many Rivers Farm, you'll find 47 varieties of apples for the picking, along with peaches, thornless blackberries, and Asian pears. Small-batch cider and jams are available in the farm store. This farm is conscious of its carbon footprint, and makes the effort to employ agricultural practices that respect the land. This includes the use of cover crops, molasses as pest control, and wildflowers to attract pollinators. The farm offers CSA-style u-pick plans by the bushel and peck, which covers multiple entries to the orchard during the season until you've picked your allotted amount. Make sure to reserve in advance — the CSA program sells out quickly.
Prices: $2 per pound for apples; all produce $100 per bushel; $40 per peck (CSA-style).
Pecan Hill Farms
The original trees at Pecan Hill Farms were planted just after the Civil War. Today, the Draughn family, who has owned the property since 2002, commercially harvests the pecans for wholesale and the public. Visitors are welcome to pick their own blackberries, flowers (zinnias and sunflowers), and blueberries (of which there are over 2,000 bushes). Buckets are provided and the blackberry bushes are thornless, so feel free to bring the kids!
Prices: $10 per gallon for blueberries; $18 per gallon for blackberries; $5 per large cup of flowers.
Chattooga Belle Farm
Long Creek, South Carolina
Chattooga Belle Farm, at one time owned by comedian and actor Groucho Marx, is located in Long Creek, South Carolina. In the 1960s, the area had the distinction of the largest apple producing region east of the Mississippi. The farm grows over 20 different fruits, including Asian pears, figs, persimmons, and paw paws among the peaches, blackberries, and scuppernongs. Come harvest your own as you admire the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.
Lavender Ridge Farms
What was, in the 1900s, a strawberry and melon farm, is today a lavender-growing operation. Lavender Ridge Farms is now home to perennial gardens, a collection of bearded irises, rescue farm animals, and a lavender café with a menu inspired by the plant. Come pick your own bunch of lavender and then stay to explore the rest of the property.
Smith Perry Berries
The owners of Smith Perry Berries started their farm with the goal of bringing people back to the land and connecting them with their food. What started as one acre of strawberries has now bloomed to 12, and visitors can, in addition to picking fruit and flowers, enjoy activities such as hayrides, cow coasters, pumpkin canons, and more.
Prices: $12 per gallon for strawberries; $15 per bucket for sunflowers; $0.50 - $45 per pumpkin.
Bennett Orchards is a sixth-generation family farm reputed throughout the region for its blueberries and peaches — as well as the muffins made from the fruit by owner Carrie Bennett. Started in 1867, the farmstead previously produced grain and poultry, with today's family concentrating on fruit.
Prices: $3.35 per pound (4 pound minimum) for blueberries; $1.55 per pound (10 pound minimum) for peaches. Save $1.25 when you reuse the farm-issued bucket on the next visit.