Apple picking season traditionally begins in late summer and runs through to early winter, but it’s the fall months that often provide the most apple variety and the best apple picking experiences. With a slight chill in the air, it can be lovely for friends and families to group up, head out to a nearby farm or orchard, and spend a few hours admiring the beautiful scenery as they pluck fresh, ripe apples off the trees and fill up their bags and baskets, thinking of all the delicious recipes they’ll be able to cook up when they get back home.
There’s a long list of things you can do with apples, from baking pies and cakes to making sauces, ciders, and more, or even simply just eating them the old-fashioned way as a mid-day snack. Fall is a super time to stock up on apples that will see you through the rest of the year, and Northern VA is a terrific place to go apple picking. There are a lot of excellent apple orchards in Virginia, with the northern part of the state being particularly well blessed in terms of U-Pick locations.
Best Apple Picking Spots in Northern Virginia
Northern VA’s apple picking locations are numerous and varied, with each one having its own distinct advantages and activities. Some VA apple picking spots keep things simple and just let you enjoy the peace and quiet of the orchards as you pick your apples, while others offer a whole range of extras like wagon rides, petting zoos, corn mazes, and face painting for youngsters. Whichever kind of apple picking spot you want to visit, you’ll find it in Northern VA. Read on for some details of the best farms and orchards in the area.
- Stribling Orchard - 11587 Poverty Hollow Ln, Markham, VA 22643, Phone: 540-364-3040
A very historic apple orchard in Northern Virginia, Stribling Orchard has been operating for over two centuries now. The means that six whole generations of the Stribling family have been working on this land and will surely continue working on it for years to come, growing some of the best quality, juiciest apples in the state. The Harvest House on-site sells a great range of homemade products like sauces, salsas, jellies, honeys, jams, and more, as well as baked goods like apple turnovers, apple pies, apple cake, and apple bread. Some of the apple varieties you can find at Stribling Orchard include Fuji, York, Stayman Winesap, and Granny Smith, with different varieties coming into season with each passing week.
- Marker-Miller Orchards - 2616, 3035 Cedar Creek Grade, Winchester, VA 22602, Phone: 540-662-1391
With over 300 acres of apple trees to explore, Marker-Mill Orchards can provide endless apple picking opportunities all through the fall. Peaches and pears are also grown at this farm, but the main focus is on apples, with U-Pick opening up to the public in September of each year and running through to the end of November or even partly into December depending on the harvest. A huge farm market is also situated on site for people who just want to buy boxes of apples and other products at great prices. There's a bakery too, serving apple cider donuts, pies, apple turnovers, breads, cookies, buns, and more, along with lots of family-friendly activities that young visitors will love like cow trains, wagon rides, play areas, and more.
- Mackintosh Fruit Farm - 1608 Russell Rd, Berryville, VA 22611, Phone: 540-955-6225
Another family-owned fruit farm, Mackintosh is located in Clarke County among the breathtaking surroundings of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. It's open from early until late each week from Wednesday through to Sunday and offers a massive range of U-Pick fruits and veggies, including a lot of different apple varieties. Tasty, farm-made cider is available for purchase too and some of the great apple varieties you can pick at this Northern Virginia location include Ginger Gold, Blondee, Pinvoa, Honeycrisp, Gala, and Fuji.
- Hartland Orchard - 3064 Hartland Ln, Markham, VA 22643, Phone: 540-364-2316
An old family-owned and operated farm, Hartland Orchard is open daily and offers a great range of delicious apples to be used in a myriad of recipes or simply eat as healthy snacks in the middle of the day. This fruit farm also features a fun corn maze for families and friends to navigate together, as well as lots of other fruits ripe for picking throughout the year like peaches, cherries, and raspberries. Homemade apple cider can be purchased on site too, and if you visit near Christmas time, you can even take home your own tree for the holidays.