Apple Picking Season is Here Again! We have the Fruitiest DMV Orchards to Last You All Fall Long



One of the best things about autumn–other than cooler temperatures, fall TV premieres, and spiced beverages–is taking part in fall’s classic tradition: apple picking. While you can get apples at the grocery store pretty much year round, local apple growing season really only takes off between August and November.

Apples are a super nutritious fruit, full of fiber (to keep you full) and antioxidants (to keep you healthy), and lacking fat, sodium, and cholesterol, which makes it an ideal snack. Additionally, apples are one of the most versatile foods to cook with–think cinnamon-spiced applesauce, cherry-apple turnovers, and pork or even apple-pork burgers–so you can get really creative in the kitchen.

Living in DC doesn’t mean you have to miss out on apple picking. There are a number of apple orchards around the DMV area that will help you live your fall to the fullest while also supporting local farmers and businesses. So grab your flannel shirts and charge up your phones, because this is one fall tradition you shouldn’t miss!


Tips for apple picking:

Apples that are on the edges of the tree get more sunlight and therefore tend to ripen faster.

You can tell if an apple is ripe if it only takes a single twist to remove it from the tree; if it takes more elbow grease, your apple is likely still unripe.

Try to pick the apple and the stem when removing it from the tree, as stemless apples tend to rot faster.

If you pick a less-than-ripe apple, leave it on a window sill or countertop to encourage further ripening; otherwise leave it in the fridge to prolong shelf life.

For snacking, look for apples that have little-to-no bruising and are firmer; for baking, a little bruising and softness is ok.


Best for snacking:, Gala, Russet, Lady William, Empire, Fuji, Discovery, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Macoun, CrimsonCrisp

Best for cooking/baking: Grenadier, Newton Wonder, Bramley, McIntosh, Red Delicious

Best for either: Granny Smith, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Rome, Cortland


Homestead Farm

Poolesville, MD

Photo Credit: Montgomery County MD

Homestead Farm features 4 different types of apples– Jonagold, Daybreak Fuji, Honeycrisp, and CrimsonCrisp for just $2.49 a pound (or $1.99 a pound if you pick over 20 pounds). You can pick your own straight off the trees in the orchard, or visit the market for pre-picked apples and other vegetables, homemade preserves, and local honey. They’re open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm from August – October. While you can’t bring pets, you can interact with some of the farm animals that live on the orchard while you’re there.

Drive time: Just over 1 hour

Pets allowed? No

What to pick: Jonagold, Daybreak Fuji, Honeycrisp, and CrimsonCrisp

Cost: Free admission + what you pick; Cash and credit


Butler’s Orchards

Germantown, MD

Photo Credit: Rent Branson

Butler’s Orchards is a living, breathing farm in Maryland that features pick-your-own fruit, veggies, and flowers throughout most of the year. A $3 daily admission pass (or $25 season pass) gives you access to the pick-your-own fields, a Picnic Area, Giant Slides, the Nature Trail, and and their Farm Park Animals, which includes sheep, miniature donkeys, goats, and Charlie the pig. Apple picking season starts mid September and goes through mid-October, and the farm is open Tuesday – Friday from 8:30 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Be sure to bring your own reusable bags for picking, or you’ll have to purchase one from the farm!

Drive time: Just over 1 hour

Pets allowed? No

What to pick: Golden Delicious and Stayman

Payment: $3 admission + what you pick; Cash and credit


Larriland Farm

Woodbine, MD

Photo Credit: freestateciders

Although it takes a little longer to get there, Larriland Farm in Woodbine has one of the biggest selections of apple picking near DC. Their apple picking season lasts from mid-August to early November, and the farm is open Tuesday – Friday from 9 am – 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am – 5 pm. Their Red Barn Farm Market sells already-picked apples and other produce, jams and jellies, local cheeses, fudge, and more.

Drive time: Just under 2 hours

Pets allowed? No

What to pick: Ginger Gold, Gala, Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, Magnolia Gold, Jonagold, Empire, Golden Delicious, Cameo, IdaRed, Stayman, Mutsu, Suncrisp, Braeburn, Fuji, Enterprise, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gold Rush

Payment: free admission + what you pick; Cash and credit


Milburn Orchards

Elkton, MD

Photo Credit: Two Peas in A Blog

It’s a bit more of a hike but the apple cider donuts and freshly-squeezed cider at Milburn’s definitely makes the drive worth it. Start your trip with a wagon ride out to the orchards, and spend as much time as you like picking a wide variety of apples (what’s picking changes throughout the season, so take a look at the website to plan accordingly if you’re interested in a specific varietal). They also have a Big Backyard playground that’s geared more towards kids (or kids at heart) and their Farm Market Bake Shoppe is a wonderland of freshly baked apple goodies that you’ll definitely want to stock up on. They’re open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am – 5 pm September through end of October.

Drive time: Between 2 and 2.5 hours

Pets allowed? No

What to pick: Honeycrisp, Royal Gala, Orange Honey, September Fuji, Jonathan, CrimsonCrisp, Empire Macintosh, Bazooka Gold, Red & Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Mutzu, Stayman Winesap, Cameo, Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith, Sweet Zoe

Payment: free admission for apple picking (Big Backyard has an admission fee) + what you pick; Cash and credit



Hollin Farms

Delaplane, VA

Photo Credit: Flip Key

Hollin Farms is located right next door to Sky Meadows State Park, so if you’re looking to turn a simple apple picking outing into a full-day adventure, this is a great orchard to visit. In addition to having a few varieties of apples, Hollin also will provide you with a couple of shovels to dig your own peanuts and potatoes. They also have grass fed angus beef available for purchase so you can make something delicious when you get home.

Drive time: About 1.5 hours

Pets allowed? Yes

What to pick: Early Fuji, Empire, Asian pears, Gold Rush, Pink Lady, Golden Russet/Reinette Zabergau, Granny Smith, Braestar, White Winter Pearmain/Ashmead’s Kernel, Albemarle Pippen, Stayman, Cameo, Spitzenburg/Hudson’s Golden Gem, Mutsu Crispin, Fireside, Autumn Gala, Shizuka, Crown Empire, Grimes Golden, Idared, Daybreak Fuji, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious

Payment: free admission + what you pick; Cash and credit


Mackintosh Fruit Farms

Berryville, VA

Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Mackintosh Fruit Farms makes it easy to spend a few hours on site, because they have everything you need for a fantastic fall day right on the farm! Start with lunch at their farm kitchen (might we recommend the seasonal panini and some cider donuts?), then spend some time picking apples out on the orchard. Hang out for a bit and then snag a coveted ticket to one of their farm dinners–a full meal in the farm pavilion using their farm-grown ingredients.   

Drive time: Between 1.5 and 2 hours

Pets allowed? Yes

What to pick: Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold, Gala, and Blondee apples, Asian pears!

Payment: free admission + what you pick (and if you decide to get lunch or dinner, that’s not included); Cash and credit


View More Articles By Sydney Gallimore




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