Mid-June marks the beginning of berry season, and the Capital Region is rife with places you can pick your own. When you pick your own fruit, you are guaranteed to get the freshest produce possible — and you’re supporting a local farmer while you’re at it! It’s also a great way to get outside, absorb some sunshine and move your body.

Many of these locally owned farms offer more than one pick-your-own option, so be sure to peruse their website or ask questions at their market stand about options that will be available throughout the growing season. 

Strawberries

Strawberries are usually the first to come in season, and the ones you pick yourself will be far sweeter than those you’ll get in the grocery store. In no particular order: 

  • Bowman Orchards in Rexford: Open throughout the picking season on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They also have blueberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and apples throughout the summer. Check their Facebook page for updates on availability. 
  • Best Berry Farm in East Greenbush: You can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples throughout the summer. They also suggest you check their Facebook page for notifications on their hours and produce availability, or you can call ahead at (518) 286-0607.
  • Altamont Orchards in Altamont: Purchase freshly picked strawberries at their market or pick your own — just be sure to bring your own containers. They’re also home to Allied Brewing Company, so if you work up a thirst you can check that out as well. Check their Facebook page to get the latest information. 
  • Buhrmaster Farms in Schenectady: A third-generation family farm offering community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares, they’re open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the strawberry and blueberry seasons. Check out their Facebook page for more.
  • Hand Melon Farm in Greenwich: Offering strawberries, blueberries and raspberries through the summer. According to their Facebook page, they open every day at 9:00 a.m., closing at 5:00 p.m. on weekends and 6:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

Cherries

Cherries start to get ripe in late June, but they become more widely available throughout the month of July. Some of the places offering pick-your-own cherries include:

  • Bellinger’s Orchard in Fultonville: Bellinger’s has both sweet and tart cherries ready to pick starting in late June. They will also have blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins. 
  • Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook: Open Wednesday through Monday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, starting sometime (TBA) in June. You can bring your own containers or purchase them on-site. They offer cherries, summer squash, blueberries, cucumbers, black raspberries, kale and peaches throughout the season, and keep their Facebook page updated with information. A Strawberry Festival with Nine Pin Cider is set to kick off the season on Saturday, June 15, featuring food trucks and live music. Samascott also has a nearby Garden Market open year-round.

Blueberries

Another popular pick-your-own fruit, blueberries usually become available sometime after mid-July. 

  • Hay Berry Farm in Hoosick Falls: Open June through September, they offer pick-your-own blueberries as well as lavender, fresh flowers and herbs. 
  • Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont: Voted the Times Union Best Apple Orchard of the Capital Region at least seven times in the last 10 years, Indian Ladder Farms also has a cidery and brewery worth checking out. They have tons of apple varieties available for picking later in the summer, but don’t miss their blueberries, raspberries and black raspberries fields earlier on.

Raspberries

Raspberries aren’t always as fun to pick as some other fruits (the thorns!) but once you pop one in your mouth it will all be worth it. 

  • Stu-Berry Acres in Argyle: Starting in July, they’ll have blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and purple raspberries for you to pick.
  • Ariel’s Farm in Gansevoort: Also open in July, Ariel’s offers strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Ways to Find Your Own Local Spot

This list is far from complete; it’s merely a sampling of all the places you can go to pick your own berries in the Capital Region. If you visit PickYourOwn.org you can locate the nearest farm anywhere in the United States, and the website also has fruit-picking tips and recipes to try. 

There is also an online app called Harvest Connection the lets you plug in your ZIP code and the desired product (anything from produce and flowers to craft beverages), and then filter by farm/farmers market. Created for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County by Spiral Design Studio, it covers 110 farms through Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington counties.

Top image by metinkiyak from Getty Images Signature, via Canva.com


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