Where to Pick Your Own Fruit This Spring
Spring in Houston means strawberry season, but that's not all. As the five farms below demonstrate, there's a cornucopia of spring fruits ripe and ready to pick—and conveniently enough, these farms will let you pick your own to take home.
Remember, however: Houston's weather has been very fickle lately, so call ahead at each of these to make sure there's fruit in the fields before you go. You'll also want to wear closed-toed shoes (fields are dirty) and a wide-brimmed hat, and take plenty of sunscreen.
Where: Just west of Katy in Simonton
What: Strawberries (through May); blackberries and blueberries (May and June)
When: Strawberry-picking hours are limited to between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays
Bonus: There's a whole host of other activities during the weekend for the kids at this family-friendly farm: petting zoos, pedal cars, hay rides, rope mazes, giant slides and more.
What: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, carrots, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, corn, onions, okra, peppers, turnips, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, cucumbers, red potatoes, beets, arugula, asparagus, peas, squash, zucchini—basically, if it grows in Texas, you can pick it here (in season, of course)
When: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Bonus: Watch for specials, like this weekend's offer: Pick 10 pounds of strawberries and get the next 10 pounds free. Jollisant also offers a catch-and-release fishing pond stocked with bass and crappie. Want to take your fish home? There's also a stocked catfish pond; Jollisant will even clean your catch for you. The on-site farm store sells any produce you don't want to pick yourself as well as wild hogs caught in neighboring Grimes, Waller and Montgomery Counties and processed into pork chops, bacon, ribs, rump roasts and more.
What: Strawberries (through May); fresh-out-the-ground mustard green, collard green, turnips and kale are also in season and for sale here, though you can't pick your own
When: Seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bonus: Also located on the farm are Greak’s Smokehouse, which sells everything from homemade pecan-smoked sausages to summer sausage, breakfast sausage and jerky, as well as Froberg's Bakery, which currently boasts strawberry cream rolls and strawberry pies in addition to its line-up of other desserts and sweets.
What: Strawberries (through May); blackberries (May and June); tomatoes in the summer
When: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bonus: This is a working farm, so there's not much in the way of "fun," but there is a huge country store where you can pick up a week's worth of fresh produce.
Wood Duck Farm
When: Saturdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Bonus: This working farm on the southern edge of the Sam Houston National Forest is known for providing organic produce to some of the city's best restaurants, but Wood Duck can also provide the same produce for you on a weekly basis: Just sign up for its convenient CSA program, which offers pick-up locations for your basket of fresh fruits and vegetables at a dozen spots across the city from Clear Lake to Conroe.
Coming up this summer are a couple more farms to watch for:
Matt Family Orchard
What: Blueberries (May); blackberries (mid May to mid July); jujubes, a.k.a. Asian dates (mid July to August) Asian pears (July to August) figs (July to September); Asian persimmons (October to November)
When: The orchard opens in May for blueberry- and blackberry-picking. Call the orchard's regularly updated hotline at 281-351-7676 for days and hours.
Berryland Farms of Texas
Where: East of Baytown in Winnie
What: Blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes and other summer vegetables
When: The farm opens in May for blueberry- and blackberry-picking. Call ahead at 713-551-6360 for days and hours.