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Great Country Farms

Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
http://www.greatcountryfarms.com
 

Great Country Farms is a 200 acre working farm located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside the village of Bluemont, Virginia. It is about an hour drive from Washington, DC. The girls and I ventured out there last week to meet our friends at the farm for an afternoon of fun.

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After mentioning to Clara that they have a giant jumping pillow, she insisted that we go there first. We spent a good amount of time here bouncing, running, and giggling.

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Next, Clara asked to see the animals. My girls both LOVE animals and will have a great time when we go anywhere that has animals. Great Country Farms has turkeys, pigs, goats, mini horses, rabbits, peacocks, ducks, chickens, and sheep. There is animal feed available to purchase for feeding the goats.

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Then we took the kids over to the playground area. There are a few different structures to play on including a ship, tractor, and a monster truck. There is also a corn bin, a giant chess board, and tube slides.

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Then it was time to go apple picking. I purchased a Certifikid deal for admission and it also included 2 lbs of apples. The wagon for apple picking leaves at the top of every hour. It takes guests across the street and into the Bluemont Vineyard property, which is owned by the same family.

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The view is absolutely stunning with the orchards at the base of the hill and the vineyard towards the top.

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There were a few different varieties of apples available to pick including Fuji, Ruby John, Honey Crisp, and Jonafree. We decided to pick the Fuji and they were delicious.

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As usual, Clara did all the picking while Mae munched on an apple.

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The wagon waits until everyone has returned from picking and then takes all the guests back to the entrance of Great Country Farms.

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On our way out, we stopped at the farm market to pay for our apples and get a few other goodies. The market offers seasonally fresh produce, local honey, jams, gifts, and snacks.

Of course we had to get the obligatory photo with the giant cow before leaving.

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I definitely recommend a trip to Great Country Farms. It is well worth the drive from the city. There are enough activities to keep children busy for several hours. You could also make it a day trip and visit some of the family friendly vineyards in the area.

Additional information:

•Admission is $8/child (ages3-10) & $10/adult on weekdays. $10/child (ages 3-10) & $12/adult on festival weekends. Children under 2 years, active & retired military, CSA, and Fan of the Farm season pass holders, do not pay admission.
•The farm is spread out, so bring a stroller for little ones. There are paths throughout making it stroller friendly.
•CSA memberships available.
•Pick-your-own produce includes cherries, black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, potatoes, concord grapes, pumpkins, kale, swiss chard, & mustard greens.
•Follow Great Country Farms on Facebook & Twitter for updated pick-your-own availability.
•Roosteraunt is open on weekends and serves up cider donuts, kettle corn, hotdogs, pies and other snacks.
•The farm also offers weddings, corporate meetings, birthday parities, and field trips.



Butler’s Orchard

Butler’s Orchard
222000 Davis Mill Road
Germantown, MD 20876
http://www.butlersorchard.com/
 

This family owned and operated farm originated in the 1950s and now includes 300 acres where they grow over 25 kinds of fruits, veggies, and flowers. I started visiting the farm years before having children and now I enjoy taking my girls here several times a year. It is conveniently located off interstate 270 making it quicker to get to than other farms in the area. However, that also means that it is much more crowded, especially on the weekends or during their holiday festivals.

ButlerssignDuring the school year, the weekdays are not busy so I decided to take my girls last Friday. The pick your own crop throughout the year includes: strawberries, sugar snap and English peas, blueberries, tart cherries, flowers, blackberries, potatoes, red raspberries, tomatoes, apples, pumpkins, and Christmas trees. Last week, the apples were not yet ready to pick so we headed to the raspberry field first. The picking was plentiful.

ButlersraspfieldMae was eating the berries faster than Clara and I could pick them so we ended up not having many to take home. At least Mae had a tummy full of delicious raspberries.

ButlersClaraIt was close to 90 degrees that day so the girls did not last long out in the field where there was no shade. We got in the car and I turned up the air conditioning and we drove over to the Sunflower field. Clara has always loved picking flowers.

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After picking a few gigantic sunflowers we drove up to the area where the holiday festivals take place. In this space is a playground with a few different wooden structures including a pirate ship, castle, and train.

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After burning off some energy at the playground, we drove down to the entrance and stopped at the farm market to pay for our raspberries and purchase a few more items. The market is stocked with the season’s fresh produce. They also have a dairy case with local cheese, milk, and eggs. Fresh baked pies and other baked goods, kitchen supplies, and home decorations are also for sale.

ButlersmarketButler’s is probably best known for their Halloween and Easter festivals. Their 34th annual Pumpkin festival is just around the corner: September 27 & 28, October 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 25, 26. 10am – 5:00pm. This festival has so many fun activities for children including: hayrides, giant slides, straw maze, pumpkinland, pedal tractors, corn hole, pumpkin coach, corn maze, hayloft, pony rides, pumpkin cannon, face painting, kids crafts, and pick your own pumpkins. There is also live music. The festival is $11 per person and children 2 and under are free. We have attended in years past on nice days and it is completely packed with people. We once had to wait over 45 minutes in line to purchase food. So it might be a good idea to pack a picnic if you are there during lunch time.

The Bunnyland Eggstravaganza has similar activities but with an Easter theme: hayride down the bunny trail, rubber duck derby, egg hunt, moon bounce, & bunnies, chicks, & lambs in the barn. Tickets are $8.75 per child and $6.75 per adult. When I have been in years past, the Bunnyland festival has been much less busy than the Pumpkin festival.

Good to know:

•Containers for pick your own are available for purchase in the market. If you bring your own, make sure to have them weighed first.
•For the festivals, it is cash only at the entrance gates. You can purchase tickets with a credit card at the farm market.
•Some of the activities at the festivals are at an additional cost so bring extra cash for face painting, pony rides, etc.
•Portable restrooms only.
•Sign up for the email newsletter to receive updated pick your own information and other news.



Homestead Farm – It’s Apple Picking Season

Homestead Farm
15604 Sugarland Road
Poolesville, MD 20837
301-977-3761
www.homestead-farm.net  

Homestead Farm is one of our favorite pick-your-own farms in the area. It isn’t as crowded as other farms and it is located in a scenic and peaceful area. I received the email update earlier this week announcing that Honeycrisp apples were in great abundance and ready for picking. So, the girls and I headed out to the farm this afternoon.

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Homestead is open 7 days a week 9-6pm

After entering, we picked up a cart and bucket at the market. It is a bit of a walk from the market to the apple fields, so I gave the girls a ride in the cart.

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Much more fun than the stroller

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Follow the signs

The signs direct you to the rows that are ready for picking. The rows that are not yet ripe are roped off.

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Honeycrisp is Homestead’s fastest selling variety

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Clara did all the picking while Mae & I ate

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Delicious!

After picking apples, we stopped by the cut-your-own flower patch.

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Bags and scissors are provided

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Clara was oohhing & ahhing over the colorful flowers

After picking flowers we headed over to feed the goats. Animal feed is available to purchase in the market.

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Friendly goats

The goat walk is pretty cool! On the far left post is a pulley with a small bucket for food. You can then send the bucket up to the top to entice the goats to climb the beams.

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Goat walk

Today we also saw some chickens and an alpaca. Other times we have been at the farm there have been cows and pigs as well.

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Mr Alpaca was eager to meet us

There is also a hay bale area for the kids to play.

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I love this place!

Other useful info about visiting Homestead Farm:

• No pets allowed
• No birthday parties
• Porta-potties only
• The market sells a variety of seasonally fresh fruits & veggies, local honey, & preserves
• The market accepts credit cards
• A food stand is open on the weekends where they sell hotdogs, hamburgers, desserts, etc
• Sign up on their website for the email updates so you know what is available to pick

We will definitely be going back in a month or so to pick pumpkins and go on a hayride.