By Jeniece Smith
There’s no fruit as sweetly piquant as the apples or berries you picked yourself. Make the most of this Wisconsin growing season by visiting a farm where you can harvest your own produce.
Always be sure to call ahead, as these independent orchards rely on a successful crop and good weather.
The founders of Blue Skies Berry Farm took inspiration from the likes of nature-loving writer Henry David Thoreau and famed Wisconsin conservationist Aldo Leopold. You’ll find a carefree atmosphere as you pursue “berry therapy,” as the owners call it, with eating a few raspberries as you pick never frowned upon and kids and pets always welcomed.
More pick-your-own raspberries: Try Nelson’s Berry Farm in Westboro for pick-your-own raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, along with fresh veggies, maple syrup, pumpkins, gourds and even homegrown black angus beef.
Raspberry harvest: Starting as early as May and running as late as November in Wisconsin, depending on the variety.
Though strawberries are the star at BerryLand in Abrams, pick-your-own rhubarb, asparagus, pumpkins, squash and gourds also are available seasonally. Come autumn, the farm offers fall decorations and scarecrows, as well as kid-friendly haunted hayrides out to the pumpkin patch.
More pick-your-own strawberries: Find more pick-your-own strawberries at Kirschbaum’s Strawberry Acres in Beaver Dam, which also offers honey, sweet peas, hickory nuts and goods from other local producers including tomatoes, pies and syrups.
Strawberry harvest: Typically mid-May through mid-June in Wisconsin.
Cherry Lane Orchard’s main business focus is on customers’ pick-your-own experience at its 13-acre cherry and apple orchards. In addition to the expected items like water, bug spray and a picnic basket, this Sturgeon Bay operation encourages visitors to bring fresh fish to trade for cherries!
More pick-your-own cherries: Head just a little further up the Door County peninsula to family-run Orchard Country Winery in Fish Creek for more pick-your-own cherries and apples, along with tasty fruit wines and homemade pies.
Cherry harvest: For sweet cherries, mid-June through late July. For tart cherries, mid-July through late July.
Located on Wisconsin’s western border with Minnesota, Rush River Produce has 14 varieties of blueberries, along with currants and gooseberries the first three weeks of the season. At this family operation in Maiden Rock, owners Terry and John Cuddy say, “We provide the boxes, you take home the harvest.”
Blueberry harvest: Typically early July through mid-August in Wisconsin.
In addition to 30 varieties of the fall favorite in the name, Apple Holler in Sturtevant offers pick-your-own peaches, pears and pumpkins. This year-round destination in southeastern Wisconsin also boasts a seasonal flower market, restaurant and dinner theater, gift shop, barnyard animals, and hay wagon and sleigh rides.
More pick-your-own apples: Take a drive Up North to Apple Hill Orchard in Bayfield, which offers pick-your-own apples, cherries, pears and plums. Plan your visit around the Bayfield Apple Festival in October.
Apple harvest: Starting as early as mid-July and ending as late as mid-October in Wisconsin.