While Orange County farmers typically work year round and can be found selling their products during the winter markets - the fruits and ‘flowers’ of their labor really show through come April and early May.
The markets get more colorful with fruits, flowers and veggies; and busier too with more vendors and visitors. Roadside and on-farm stands open up. The best part, we think, is the opportunity to get out to a farm to pick (or cut) your own!
And, with our temperate climate here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, the pick your own season extends well into the fall. Below is just a sampling, in order by product and season, of our fabulous pick- your- own farms.
Know before you go: Hours and availability may vary, so be sure to check online and make reservations in advance – if applicable.
The first of the fruits of the season for picking. Depending on the weather, the red juicy berry is ripe for picking in late April through early June. Strawberries love full sun; hats and sunscreen are always fashionable in the strawberry fields.
Double R 701 Ollie Lane, Hillsborough, NC | 919-949-8157
Eno River Farm 2127 St. Mary’s Road, Hillsborough, NC | 919-245-8775
McAdams Farm 1100 Efland Cedar Grove Rd., Efland, NC | 919-732-7701
Early varieties such as tulips, daffodils and hellebores can be found as early as March but it's a quick window. Around here, the season for cutting blooms begins around June. Look for beauties like snapdragons, dianthus, dahlias and zinnias that put on a colorful show through the summer months into early fall. Finally, a fall favorite, chrysanthemums, make their appearance with their showy petals. There’s more to cutting flowers than just putting in a vase! Look for special events and classes to enhance your flower farm experience. Check individual farms for supplies provided or ones you need to bring along on your visit.
Fernrock Farm 4500 Orange Grove Rd, Hillsborough, NC | 919-644-0654
These nutrient rich, tasty berries are in-season June and July and come in several varieties. Picking blueberries makes for a great family outing; lots of open space and ease of picking even for younger children. To get the cream of the crop, only pick the fully ripe berries that are plump and round!
Hawk Hill Berry Farm 3009 Hawk Hill Farm Rd., Mebane, NC | 919-923-3275
Whitted Bowers Farm 8707 Art Road, Cedar Grove, NC | 919-732-5132
Prevalent in North Carolina, really throughout the Southern United States, Muscadines or Scuppernongs (named after the Scuppernong River in North Carolina) like it hot and humid which makes them easy to grow here in the Piedmont. These grapes are bigger and rounder than the seedless green and red grapes most are accustomed to. Beware though, the skin is thick and seeds are large. But, once you master the art of spitting of seeds and skin, it’s worth the juicy and sweet flesh! Muscadine jam and jelly along with homemade wine are the most popular way to enjoy this southern favorite. Plan your Muscadine picking adventure for late summer to early fall.
Parker Farm & Vineyard 2211 Laws Store Rd., Hurdle Mills, NC |919-245-1008
White Rock Vineyard 7612 Efland-Cedar Grove Rd., Cedar Grove, NC | 919-732-4732
Large, orange fruits that can be eaten like an apple (non-astringent). Take note, astringent persimmons should only be eaten after ripening or suffer from pucker mouth! Fun tidbit: in Korean folklore the dried persimmon has a reputation for scaring away tigers. No worries, you most likely will not cross paths with any tigers here. Picking season is September through October
Sweet Retreat Orchard 2925 Frank Perry Rd., Hillsborough, NC | 919-973-5536
America's first Hemp pick-your-own farm is located at a certified Century Farm right here in Orange County, NC. The hemp is grown in fields rather than greenhouses with no herbicides or pesticides. The hemp is available fresh, cured and as part of pick-your-owns and harvest parties & events when in season, which is usually September and October.
Merry Hill 2004 Ben Wilson Rd., Mebane, NC | 336-693-8162
DID YOU KNOW?
The 26th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour is April 22-23, 2023
This Earth Day weekend, reserve Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, for two days of rolling pastures, cute animals, and crops galore! Thirty-one farms across the Piedmont of North Carolina to visitors for a weekend of farm fun! https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/pft/
We Love the Outdoors Contest!
Enter to Win!! A two-night stay at the newly renovated Sheraton Chapel Hill is up for grabs https://visitchapelhill.stories.travel/invite/guest-storytellers + 2nd place wins a $100 Gift Certificate to Crossroads at the Carolina Inn + 3rd place wins a gift basket full of local goodies. We're looking for people to share their photos and stories of favorite outdoor places in Orange County! Submit in the link above by May 26th - We'll be voting for three of our favorites!
You can connect to your favorite Orange County farms and ag-related businesses all year through the Visit NC Farms mobile app – Learn more at Visit NC Farms Today
(Top photo courtesy of Evan Moore Photography)