5 Pittsburgh pick-your-own farms where kids can harvest berries, cherries and peaches
Photo by Samantha Fortney via Unsplash.
Visiting Pittsburgh’s pick-your-own farms to harvest buckets of strawberries and blueberries has become a family tradition for many. The season for enjoying a day of harvesting is finally here again, though exact dates and times are subject to weather and fruit availability.
Local farmers’ best guesstimate for ripe strawberries that are ready for harvest is toward the end of the first week of June. Call ahead or check websites before strapping the kids into their car seats to ensure a happy outing. Pick-your-own season begins with strawberries, followed by blueberries and other delicious fruit as the summer continues.
Here’s where little farmers can find berry bliss in the Pittsburgh region:
1. Simmons Farm, 170 Simmons Road, McMurray
You can pick the rainbow at Simmons Farm, where pick-your-own crops cover the season with strawberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins. Strawberries are coming into season soon. Sign up for email notifications and be the first to know the start date. Always call ahead to (724-941-1490) or check their website or Facebook page to confirm what’s available on a given day.
Flower picking, available by mid-June, is another cool option for a pick-your-own experience at Simmons. From sunflowers to wildflowers, you can pay a flat rate and kids will get a bucket and scissors to fill with as many stems as they can fit.
A free hayride will carry you and your little ones to the fields. And as the growing season progresses, look for aromatic peach picking, followed by crunchy ripe apples by September. You can even bring a picnic lunch and make a family day trip of your farm outing. Kids will love the free petting zoo that’s open during market hours.
2. Triple B Farms, 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela
Fans of Triple B Farms are awaiting the announcement of ripe strawberries. With luck, strawberries will be ready by the end of May. Get insider info with the daily crop update by phone (724-258-3557) or via email. You can receive text notifications of harvest updates, promos and family fun by texting TripleB to 866-933-1117. Or you can check their Facebook page before heading out.
The strawberry crop is likely to be available through mid-July. Black raspberries run from mid-June through July, with blueberries ready to pick from late June through July. You can reach for plump peaches in late summer and apples by September. Pick-your-own flowers, offered from July through October, include zinnias, cosmos, celosia, ageratum, rudbeckia and sunflowers.
Pop’s FunYard at Triple B opens for the season along with strawberry picking and it offers plenty of fun. Visit the Bee Barn, where a Plexiglas window allows visual access to the inner workings of a beehive. The entire family acts as game pieces in a giant farm-themed board game. You’ll also find hillside tunnels and tube slides named after the Liberty and Squirrel Hill tunnels. The Rompin’ Rope Maze helps burn off energy. And everyone loves the farm animals, including pygmy goats, chickens, rabbits and a potbellied pig.
3. Trax Farms, 528 Trax Rd. Finleyville
Strawberry picking is coming soon to Trax Farms in Finleyville. Depending on weather and fruit availability, decisions on opening the fields to pickers are made day-to-day. Before heading out, call 412-835-3246 or check the Trax website and Facebook page for more updates and announcements. Watch the calendar for other events throughout the season.
The property offers an Antique Loft for grown-up shoppers, plus an indoor and outdoor nursery, top-notch produce market, bakery, wine shop and gift shop. Kids are not forgotten here — the children’s selection of books, decorations, and other items is outstanding.
4. Soergel Orchards, Wexford
Soergel Orchards’ pick-your-own farm visits started about 30 years ago. The Soergel family welcomes little pickers to their Wexford berry fields for strawberry picking, with luck and good weather by the first or second week of June. Fat blueberries will be ready to pluck from the bushes in July and August, followed by apples and pumpkins in September and October. Watch for Facebook updates on exact dates.
Along with the fun of picking (and eating!) fresh fruit, kids love Soergel’s because they can explore Tiny Town and a farm animal petting zoo. And don’t miss Soergel’s Scoops, where they can enjoy Perry’s Ice Cream with flavors like Graham Canyon, Brownie Batter and Super Hero.
5. Norman’s Orchard, Frazer Township
The Norman family started production at their farm in 1958, eventually specializing in the heirloom fruit for which Norman’s Orchard is known. Even though this Frazer Township farm lacks kid-focused attractions, families flock to Norman’s for its unique specialty fruit that can’t be found in stores.
Sadly, there will be no sweet cherries. They were destroyed by the April freeze. Tart cherries should ripen by the third week of June. The cherry season lasts only about two weeks, so stay alert. A bumper crop of blueberries is likely to be available from the end of June through the end of July, as are cooking apples. Then pears – seckel, Lincoln, Anjou, Bosc, among others – ripen for picking mid-August through September. The many unusual varieties of apples – more than two dozen — are available at varying times from August through October.
Norman’s is the only local pick-your-own farm in the Pittsburgh area that offers grapes (from mid-August to early September). Check the season chart for availability and Facebook for up-to-date alerts or call ahead at 724-224-9491. Note: The farm operates on a cash-only basis.