One thing I love about Northern Virginia is the variety of activities we have available. To the west, we have lots of country farms and mountains and to the east, we have a major city. We make it a point to expose Aiden to all these different areas. One of our favorite (almost) year-round activities is fruit picking. Last week we went strawberry picking at Great Country Farms. Strawberry picking with toddlers is a perfect spring activity and we knew our little guy would love it!
I’m not sure about your toddler, but our little guy is obsessed with pretty much all fruit so picking our own fruit is a treat for the little man. You can find strawberries in May and early June depending on the variety. The strawberries we pick at Great Country Farms are the Chandler variety which produces from mid to late May through early June.
Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Virginia is our go-to for basically all fruit picking. However, you can easily find farms that have strawberry picking by doing a simple Google search. I recommend going in the morning because, depending on how large the field is, they may get picked out before the end of the day. Plus, if it’s a hot day, it will be cooler in the morning. You won’t find a lot of shade in the strawberry field!
Great Country Farms typically has a festival around all their pick-your-own fruit. We usually try to go pick before that festival to ensure we have a good chance of getting fruit. In this case we went a few days before the Strawberry Jubilee and I am so glad we did because they were actually picked out by 10:30 am on the first day of their strawberry festival! So, again, pick early 😀
Strawberry picking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Aiden loves taking the tractor ride out to the field and picking the strawberries off the bushes. It’s nearly impossible to get Aiden NOT to eat all the fruit right in the field. A great benefit of picking your own fruit is that you get away from the fruit you find at the grocery store which is full of pesticides. I love that I don’t have to worry too much about what is going in his body; although, I do bring a water bottle to rinse the strawberries when I can.
Tips for strawberry picking with toddlers:
- Bring a hat and sunscreen — There is very little to no shade in the strawberry field!
- Bring water — Both to stay hydrated and to rinse the strawberries off if you want to eat any before you get home.
- Get there early — The most fruit will be available in the morning.
- If you are going later in the day call first — Especially if you are driving a long distance.
- Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty — I didn’t think about this in advance and Aiden was wearing a white shirt which isn’t the best option when eating strawberries and playing in the dirt!
- Pack wipes — Fresh strawberries are juicy!
- When looking for strawberries, look in the middle of the plants. They are most protected so you will find the best ones in the middle.
Here is a quick video highlight of our adventure!
What To Do With The Strawberries You Pick:
- Make chocolate covered strawberries with your toddler
- Homemade fruitsicles — a toddler favorite
- Infuse water — this is great if your toddler is not a huge water fan
- Smoothie — mix in some spinach if your toddler isn’t into veggies
- Mix them into yogurt, cereal, and/or oatmeal
- Fruit salad
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Great Country Farms without a stop at Dirt Farm Brewing for a strawberry snack with an amazing view.
Have you ever taken your little one strawberry picking? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.
If you liked this post check out How to have fun planting with toddlers this spring and Going to a baseball game with a toddler.