Whether you want to fill your kitchen with farm-fresh produce or decorate your home for the holidays, there are plenty of ways to support Delaware businesses and plan an outdoor adventure through u-pick offerings.
Throughout the year, farms across the state offer u-pick fruits and vegetables as well as pick-your-own pumpkins and Christmas trees.
We've assembled your picking season roundup to plan your farm-picking outings for the seasons.
Note: Be sure to contact a farm or check their social media for current updates on what crops are available and when their u-pick activities are scheduled.
Spring and summer
U-pick season usually takes off in late May and June with the arrival of berries.
In Delaware, plenty of local farms offer pick-your-own strawberries during this time.
Although strawberry season has already come and gone, blueberries are beginning to arrive and will soon be ready for picking.
Fifer Orchards in Camden-Wyoming has pick-your-own blueberries from mid-June to mid-July.
According to their site, the best blueberries to pick will be plump and have deep blue coloring with a chalky/powdery complexion. Green berries should be left to ripen.
When a blueberry is ready for picking, it should easily be released from the bush. To fill your bucket faster, search for berries in areas that are less picked over and focus on the color of each berry instead of the size.
The orchard also has plenty of food, activities and farm produce for you to enjoy during your visit.
Bennett Orchards is another location offering u-pick blueberries. This Frankford farm has six varieties of blueberries and sells produce at various farmers markets throughout the beach towns if you can’t fit in a day of picking.
While blackberry season can span anywhere from late spring to early fall, the fruit usually peaks in July and August.
Kingsley Orchards in Frankford, well known for several types of u-pick blueberries, offers blackberry picking in July.
If you’re new to the orchard or have never picked your own fruit before, find one of their farmers for a quick lesson on all things u-pick!
The dog days of summer bring us right into peach season. Peaches peak during late July and August.
At Bennett Orchards, conveniently located on Peachtree Lane in Frankford, they offer more than a dozen varieties of pick-your-own peaches and nectarines.
Some tips they have for picking the best peaches include finding those with a deep yellow background color instead of focusing on the red, or blush, color.
To pick a peach, gently twist the one you want and it should easily detach from the branch.
A tree-ripened peach will be firm to the touch but should soften soon after being picked and being left out at room temperature for a few hours or days.
When collecting your picked peaches, try to keep the firmer ones on the bottom of your container and the softer ones on top.
Parsons Farms Produce in Dagsboro has u-pick peaches available in July and currently has berries available for picking.
To make the u-pick outing complete, they also have fresh beef for sale, a country store filled with fresh produce, ice cream, events and farm animals available for feeding and petting.
A popular autumn activity is to spend the day at local orchards drinking apple cider, eating fresh cider donuts and picking apples right off the trees.
Some of the apple varieties they carry include Gala, Honeycrisp, Crimson Crisp, Golden Delicious, Shizuka, Pink Lady and Fuji.
A few of the previously mentioned farms such as Fifer Orchards and Parsons Farms Produce offer apple-picking throughout the season as well.
As we inch closer to fall, the days of fruit picking will be left behind as pumpkins take the u-pick reins.
From mid-September through October, Ramsey’s Farm in Brandywine Hundred offers pumpkin picking on a 10-acre field that yields about 50,000 pumpkins each year.
The pumpkin patch is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and has pumpkins in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, with wagons on-site for visitors to use.
For even more weekend fun, the farm has pumpkin patch activities, bonfire night events, flashlight corn mazes and nighttime hayrides. They are also open for private events, parties and educational tours.
Middletown’s Filasky’s Produce and Farm Market offers u-pick pumpkins, a soybean maze, bonfires and hayride during the day and at night.
Parsons Farms Produce and Fifer Orchards also have pumpkins available for picking.
Once the hubbub of pumpkin carving and fall décor gives way to frosty temperatures and the welcome of winter, Christmas tree hunting is at the top of the agenda.
Delaware is home to many Christmas tree farms, and many of them offer homemade wreaths, photo opportunities with Santa and a variety of trees to ensure you find the perfect fit fir your home. (Get it? Like Douglas fir?)
Last year’s Christmas tree supply was sparse due to supply chain issues, and many farms sold out earlier in the season than in years past.
Christmas tree conundrum: Want a Christmas tree this year? Better act fast. Here's what you need to know
To avoid going home empty-handed, keep up with your favorite tree farms on their websites or via social media to be notified as soon as they open for business this year.
Don’s Tree Farm in Greenwood is operating by appointment only for the upcoming holiday season.
They open on Black Friday and have a variety of tree types available for privacy landscaping or as holiday trees, including emerald green, leylands, pine and holly. Don’s is open Monday through Friday and is able to deliver trees to customers if needed.
Aside from trees, they have homemade wreaths for sale and invite Santa to the farm for photo opportunities all throughout the season.
Gaines Christmas Tree Farm in Harrington, founded in 1996, also opens for business on Black Friday.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: In Delaware, pick your own produce all year with this seasonal guide