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Where and when to pick your own fruit

For Scott Palka, co-owner of Luna Farms in Newfane, the pleasure of seeing the grins on children’s faces as they take their first bites of freshly picked strawberries never gets old.

This is what picking your own fruit is all about, after all: The satisfaction that comes with spending time with family, learning where your food comes from and how it’s grown. Finding produce that tastes how it’s supposed to — bursting with flavor in a way that isn’t comparable to what you find in the grocery store — becomes its own special experience.

“It sounds weird, but it’s not,” Palka says. “That first ‘wow.’ We get that a lot.”

Palka and fellow owner Julie Eberhart run Luna Farms, located on about 20 acres in Niagara County, 35 miles outside of Buffalo. Much of the farm space is used for bee and insect programs and is not farmed. Their certified organic strawberries peak in early- to mid-June, with nine varieties planned for this spring and summer. Last season was difficult for most of Western New York’s strawberry growers. But Palka and Eberhart say they hope to see families picking strawberries in their fields as soon as the warm May and June sun allows.

Western New York and nearby counties offer a diverse bounty of berry patches and orchards to provide an experience people of all ages can enjoy. From the first plump strawberries in late May to the last apples hanging late into October, there’s always an option when the family loads into the car for a weekend drive exploring the region’s agricultural opportunities.

The wide range of climates in Western New York means peak times for fruit picking can vary greatly. The microclimates in parts of Niagara County sheltered by Lake Ontario, for example, allow for cherry, apple and peach orchards, while the elevated, colder valleys in the Southern Tier may be better suited for heartier berries like blueberries. But you’ll find nearby options of all kinds no matter where you live.

“It’s absolutely a family activity,” Palka adds. “People love to pick because it’s fun.”

Get picking

Because of the fickle nature of weather and harvest, it’s important to always call ahead or check the farm’s website to verify availability. And remember, on any given summer day, a roadside sign may be all that indicates a pick-your-own berry field. Not every farm has a website, or even a listed phone number. Part of the adventure may lie in heading out in the country and following your nose. But never pick a field’s produce unless it’s clearly indicated and open for business.



Andolina Farms
10719 Brant-Angola Rd., Brant

Vacco Farms
1524 Cain Rd., Angola
Also: Corn, beans, grapes, pumpkins

Bowman Farms, Inc.
11259 Gowanda State Rd., North Collins
Also: Corn, tomatoes, squash, other fruits and vegetables

Abers Acres
884 Route 394, Kennedy
Also: Raspberries, blueberries, currants, peas, beans

Hen-Hawk Acres
13439 Genessee Rd., Chaffee

Luna Farms
3408 Murphy Rd., Newfane

Becker Farms
3724 Quaker Rd., Gasport
Also: Raspberries, blueberries, apples, cherries, pumpkins, plums, winery, brewery, events

Summer Breeze Hydroponic Strawberries
6684 Lamont Rd., Castile


Mid-July through October

Blueberry Meadows
1414 Rowe Ave., Weston Mills

Blueberry Ridge
12201 Gowanda State Rd., Lawtons

Blueberry Treehouse Farm
1897 Davis Rd., West Falls

Burdick Blueberries, Inc.
8267 Thompson Rd., Cattaraugus

Childs Blueberry Farm
3172 Cooper Hill Road, Humphrey

Fenton’s Produce
3323 Pratt Rd., Batavia
Also: Tomatoes, peppers

Price Family Farm
4598 Porter Center Rd., Lewiston

South Hill Farms
9419 South Hill Rd., Colden

Whittier Fruit Farm
7399 Lake Rd. (Route 18), Appleton
Also: Apples, peaches, cherries at Rochester location


July, September through October

Awald Farms
2195 Shirley Rd., North Collins
Also: Currants, pumpkin patch, blueberries

Coulter Farms
3871 North Ridge Rd., Lockport
Also: Strawberries, cherries, sweet corn, market

Great Valley Berry Patch
5608 Humphrey Rd., Great Valley
Also: Strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn, vegetables

Greg’s U-Pick Farm
9270 Lapp Road, Clarence Center
Also: Strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, CSA, market stand

Paul’s Organic Farm
8213 Center Rd., Holland
Also: Blueberries, blackberries, kiwi fruit and tree fruit

Yerico Farms Pickin Patch
3691 East Main Rd., Fredonia
Also: Strawberries, blueberries


July to mid-August

Bittner Singer Orchards
6620 Lake Rd. (Route 18), Appleton

Curione Farms
3253 Upper Mountain Rd., Sanborn

Farmer John’s
350 E. Main St., Fredonia
Also: Grapes, vegetables

Kappus Farms
6275 Jockey Rd., Burt
Also: Raspberries, apples, pears, plums, peaches

Lisiecki Produce
8427 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Gasport
Also: Farm stand

Olde Chautauqua Farms
6645 West Main Rd., Portland
Also: Asparagus

Walker’s Fruit Farm and Wine Juices
2860 Route 39, Forestville
Also: Grapes, fruit juices


Late July through October

Baker Farm Market and U-Pick
2100 Youngstown Lockport Rd., Ransomville

Blackman Homestead Farm
4472 Thrall Rd., Lockport

Brant Apple Farm
1355 Brant-North Collins Rd. (Route 249), Irving

Meadows Farm
10459 Prospect Rd., Forestville
Also: Apple cider, pumpkins, picked squash, broccoli, cauliflower

Murphy Orchards
2402 McClew Rd., Burt
Also: Strawberries, currants, cherries, vegetables, pumpkins, rhubarb, asparagus, market stand

Smith’s Orchard Cider Mill
4960 Mapleton Rd., Pendleton

Stonehill Orchard
2356 Shirley Road, North Collins

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