Get ready for some serious berry picking, Toronto!
City living has its perks but sometimes it’s nice to get out to the country for a day, especially if that experience involves picking your own delicious fruits and vegetables. Toronto is fortunate to be surrounded by some great local farms where you can purchase fresh-from-the-field produce and often take in a few other forms of entertainment.
Below are 10 such destinations, all of which are located roughly 90 minutes or less from Toronto (depending on traffic of course).
Strawberry and other berry-picking seasons are reliant entirely on the weather. Normally, strawberry picking season runs mid-May to mid-July. If there’s been a lot of rain, however, the season can be pushed back by one or two weeks. And since produce picking is a highly weather dependent activity, be sure to call ahead to confirm that what you want to pick is available.
**Every location listed below is open for Summer 2021, with Covid-19 protocols in place.
Andrews Scenic Acres | Milton, ON
At this farm, the “#1 attraction is a wagon ride out to our farm fields where you can ‘pick-your-own’ strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants and gooseberries, as well as pumpkins, apples, sweet corn and flowers.” But not just fruit! Rhubarb and asparagus are also available for picking. Andrews also offers (Covid dependent) wagon rides, an animal corral and, for the adults, a winery that creates award-winning fruit wines.
Barrie Hill Farms | Springwater, ON
For over 40 years, this farm has been aiming to be, “specialists in providing exceptional and complete ‘pick your own’ service.” Here your family can hop on a wagon ride out to the fields where, depending on the time of year, you can pick such produce as strawberries, beans, corn, three different kinds of peas and more. There’s also a market and café where you can combine frozen yogurt with farm-fresh fruit.
Brooks Farms | Mount Albert, ON
Located just outside of Newmarket, this farm has over 10 acres devoted to ways to entertain your kids. Here you’ll find a market and café, special seasonal events and such attractions as rubber duck races and the “animated singing chicken show.” Also on site are pick-your-own fields of strawberries, peas, saskatoon berries, corn, apples, and more.
Downey’s Strawberry and Apple Farm | Caledon, Ontario
One of the GTA’s best-known farms packs a whole day’s worth of fun. Its play area features everything from a wooden pirate ship to a tricycle race track to a giant sandbox. From mid-August to Halloween, it’s home to a giant corn maze. It also lets you pick your own strawberries, raspberries, and apples. Downey’s recently opened a second pick-your-own location in Breslau, near Kitchener.
Wilmot Blueberries | Newcastle, Ontario
Here there’s only one berry that matters: The blueberry. Wilmot’s pick-your-own fields offer nine different types of blueberries, which your family can harvest using their own containers or using one of Wilmot’s four-litre pails. After you’ve filled your containers, stop by the AppleBerries Café where you can enjoy some blueberry ice cream and purchase such blueberry products as jams, salsa and even mustard.
*Note that blueberry season happens in August.
Organics Farm | Markham, ON
As the name suggests, this farm offers certified organic produce. You can pick your own strawberries during strawberry season and, in the fall, apple picking is available. Also for sale at the on-site market are ready-picked vegetables, farm-produced honey and naturally pasture-raised meats. The farm is home to a wood-fired oven where such kid-friendly items as pizza are cooked up.
Puddicome Estate Farms & Winery | Winona, ON
For over 200 years, this Stoney Creek area farm has been producing delicious, fresh food. While its market sells a wide variety of picked produce, your family can choose to pick their own cherries (sweet or sour), pears (Bartlett or Bosc), apples (10 varieties to choose from), or pumpkins. After you’ve filled your baskets, check out the farm’s many other attractions including a train ride, a petting zoo and for the adults, wine and cider samples. **Please note: they ask that you call ahead to make a train ride reservation in order to avoid line ups, and during Pick-Your-Own Seasons, masks and gloves are mandatory.
Willowtree Farm | Port Perry, ON
Over 30 different types of fruit and vegetables are grown at this Durham region farm and two of those produce – strawberries and raspberries – are available as part of the farm’s pick-your-own-experience, which also includes a wagon ride. Pretty much everything else, including cantaloupe, watermelons and cucumbers, can be purchased at the farm’s store where there’s also a bakery, butcher (Willowtree also raises its own cattle and sheep), and farm-produced maple syrup.
Stonehaven Farms | Campbellville, Ontario
This farm specializes in strawberry picking and pumpkin picking and offers a fun play area for kids. A recent article by Narcity compares Campbellville to Stranger Things’ Hawkins, Indiana; another compelling reason to visit. (Please call ahead to check for the latest updates!)
Reesor’s Farm Market | Markham, Ontario
Reesors also offers PYO strawberries and pumpkins at their family-friendly and quaint farm.
Forsythe Family Farm | Uxbridge, Ontario
This magical farm prides itself on offering a wholesome country experience. The farm offers u-pick strawberries, peas, raspberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, and more. There are plenty of family-friendly activities to fill your day.
Butt’s Berry Farm | Guelph, Ontario
This small family farm offers pick-your-own strawberries and a guaranteed quaint and small-town experience. Butt jokes not included. (**Note, they’re open for 2021, but they recommend you keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest updates.)
-With files/notes from Brianna Bell