Pick Your Own

Grab the kids and put that SUV to work. North Texas is home to dozens of bountiful farms and ranches where you can roll up your sleeves and make your mouth happy.

ARLINGTON
Gnismer Farms
This 10-acre expanse in southwest Arlington has two acres dedicated to strawberries. Grab a box that holds up to six pounds and pick away for only $2.50 a pound. Don’t want to mess up your manicure? They sell the berries already picked for $3 a pound. They also offer other fruits and veggies. 3010 S. Bowen Road. 817-469-8704. [email protected].

EDOM
Blueberry Hill Farms

Blueberry picking is time consuming but worth every pluck. Wear closed-toe shoes and a hat. Open every day from June 13 through July 22, until 7 p.m., this all-things-blueberry farm is 10 acres of fun. Learn how bees cross-pollinate the rows of berries. Blueberry jam, preserves, and recipes available on-site at the store. Hint: late afternoon sunsets are divine. If you pick ’em, the berries are $10 for a half peck (approximately nine pints). FM 314 Edom (19 miles east of Canton). 903-852-6175. www.blueberryhillfarms.com.

GLEN ROSE
Rhineland Farms

At this family-run farm, you can pick your own salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, and
melons. But the highlight is wandering the fields of more than a dozen flowers such as sunflowers, zinnias, and lavender, as well as assembling your own bouquet (which could cost you $12 if you pick 20 stems). Huge sunflowers are only $1 apiece. They also offer fresh eggs. 3157 CR 411. 254-897-4517.

GREENVILLE
Rehoboth Ranch

We should all grow up in such a stress-free environment. These Thanksgiving turkeys breathe clean air and eat an all-natural diet of green grass, bugs, and a custom feed mix that includes sea kelp, diatomaceous earth, and organic supplements. The result is turkey that is tender, flavorful, nutritious—the best possible. The birds live in small colonies and are never crowded in confinement houses. Operated by Robert and Nancy Hutchins, this family business processes at the ranch in an
enclosed area and adheres to the highest standards. Order now to ensure that your
holiday table will feature a turkey that tastes, well, like a turkey. Available for pickup Thanks­giving week. 2238 County Road 1081. 903-450-8145. www.rehobothranch.com.

ROANOKE
Henriet ta Creek Orchard

Farmer Ray Short says he’s got so many varieties of peaches and apples that “he done forgot their names.” Actually, this season you can pick close to 10 varieties of apples and peaches. Don’t worry about being tall or getting on a ladder, because all 400 trees are the dwarf variety. Most pickers take home about 15 pounds of fruit ($1.60 per pound for peaches; $1.50 for apples), but they also offer smaller quantities. Ever watched bees make honey? Sue Short offers a lesson on honey-making, and you can pick up a jar fresh from the honeycomb. They also host about 6,000 kids a year on school field trips. Check their website for availability, or sign up for their e-mail update list. 14255 Old Denton Road. 817-439-3202. www.henriettacreek­orchard.com.

HEATH
Barking Cat Farm

Okay, you can’t really pick there. But you may be able to obtain a box of its just-harvested goodness (there’s a waiting list). They grow many types of lettuce, organically cultivated herbs, gorgeous flowers, and seasonal vegetables. Oh, and the best mustard greens around. Go to the website for details on how to arrange to pick up your crop. 201 Laurence Drive. PMB 201. 214-533-2532. www.barkingcatfarm.com.

SANGER
Duck Creek
Blackberry Farm

We’re not talking about driving up to Sanger to get a great deal on a PDA. We’re talking about picking compact clusters of sweet blackberry goodness. Grab a container and go wild—remember, you can make jelly and jam—and for $15 dollars per gallon, these babies are a bargain. Early Saturday morning is your best bet for picking. And these bushes are thornless. Consider toting an ice chest if you have a long drive. Picking is on a first-come, first-pick basis. Check their website for crop report. 5037 Duck Creek Road. 940-458-3217.
www.duckcreekblackberries.com.

SUNNYVALE
Sunnyvale
Pecan Orchard

There are not many pecan orchards in Texas that allow you to pick your own, but at Sunnyvale Pecan Orchard you can literally go nuts gathering them. Owner Mike Sage starts his “1-ton wholesale harvest” at the end of October and then opens up the gates for the masses around the first week in November. Which is the perfect time of year to ready for holiday baking. He shakes eight acres of 32-year-old trees, which will yield about three tons from which you can choose. Five-gallon pails are available, and prices, depending on the local market supply, vary between $1 and $1.25 per pound. Once you’ve gathered your harvest, hand it over to Sage and he’ll “stick it in the cracker and they come cracked.” Always call before you come. 137 Rebecca Road. 972-226-7243. www.e-pecan.org

TERRELL
Akin Farm

Wendy and Michie Akin started their all-organic garden 15 years ago. Today their fields are full of fingerling potatoes, garlic, green beans, cucumbers, and okra, all ready for you to pick. The real deal here is the purple whole peas. Head out early in the morning, pick your peas by the bucket ($6 for five gallons), and sit back in the shade while Michie shells them for you. They also offer pinto beans at the fresh shell stage, something you will never find in a grocery store. Don’t know how to pick corn? Wendy will be happy to teach you. 9820 County Road. 353. 972-551-1189.

WAXAHACHIE
Windy Acres Farm

Farmer Charles Richardson’s prices for fresh organic produce will always be 5 or 10 percent below grocery store prices. His chickens run through the fields eating insects and seed, and they lay the best brown eggs around. (He has two Americana chickens that lay pale blue eggs with dark orange yolks.) His fields this year will yield two varieties of corn, four types of tomatoes, summer and winter squash, two varieties of watermelon, Brussels sprouts, and spinach—all ready for you to select and pick by the bucket. 388 Harrington Road. 972-757-0554.

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