The difference between store-bought and fresh picked berries is astounding. The DMV’s u-pick farms are open for strawberry picking now through June and are all about an hour drive away.
I worked on a PYO farm through college. The secret is to look under the leaves (like really get in there) and not to pick any that are even a little green. Also, wear sunblock and your least favorite pants.
Swann Farms: Swann Farms is already picking and doesn’t take reservations. Quarts are $6 and gallon buckets $23 and they aren’t weighed after, so pile on as much as you can. Bring a lunch to eat at the shady picnic tables after. 55-minute drive.
Butler’s Orchard: Butler’s is popular for a reason. Strawberry picking starts next week, but they also have pick-your-own raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and more. They also have a big farmers market, playground, and restaurant that easily make it an all-day affair. 50-minute drive.
Wegmeyer Farms: Reserve a one-hour slot in the field for $30 which includes your first bucket of self-picked strawberries. The price-per-bucket goes down the more you pick. 60-minute drive.
Mackintosh Fruit Farm: This family farm is opening for PYO in the next week or so. Besides strawberries, they have an impressive selection of fresh veggies and homemade jelly, meats, and pies for sale. 75-minute drive.
Messick’s Farm Market: Well worth the drive, this farm has PYO berries and also homemade custard, an animal petting zoo, hayrides, ziplines, wine tasting, and lots more. They are also hosting a strawberry festival this weekend! 60-minute drive.