While tractors are harvesting corn and soybeans across the Midwest in the fall, non-farmers like myself flock to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches, donned in our cute fall ‘fits with adorable baskets and camera phones at the ready. While most of us don’t have to farm our own food anymore, sometimes it’s nice to step into the fields to get our hands dirty and find some peak local produce that we picked ourselves, even if we give up the second it gets too hot.
While it’s fall now, and the peak of harvest for our neck of the woods, there are U-pick farms all over the Northland with produce and plants to pick throughout the entire growing season. I’ve collected them for you here so you can play farmer for a day — or, depending on your stamina, the hour.
What grows here — and when
Here are the plants to find at U-pick farms in the Northland and when you’ll likely find them ready to pick. Check each farm's website to make sure their crop is ready, because each year can vary depending on weather and availability.
Blackberries: July and August
Cherries: Mid-May to early July
Christmas trees: November-December
Flowers: Varies depending on variety
Peaches: July and August
U-Pick Farms in the Northland
10455 North Highway, Platte City
What to pick: Apples, peaches and pumpkins
Entrance fee: $6/person ages 2 and up, with a discount on you-pick with admission. Additional costs for the slide and train ride. You do not have to pay admission to just pick apples.
What else you’ll find: In addition to the apple picking and pumpkin patch, Allredge has a hayride, play area, barnyard animals, barn store, and their own cafe.
17607 NE 52nd Street, Liberty
What to pick: Pumpkins
Entrance fee: Weekday tickets start at $18.95 online. Children 2 and under are free.
What else you’ll find: Carolyn’s is less of a farm and more of a fall-themed amusement park, but you can take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch to pick your own! They’re known for their fall foods, like apple cider donuts and kettle corn, plus they have train rides, a carousel, lots of play areas for the kids, barn animals, live music, pig races, trampolines, slides, corn pit and more.
23400 State Route 92, Platte City
What to pick: Christmas trees
Entrance fee: Free
What else you’ll find: Fulk’s generational farm is solely a Christmas tree farm, though during the season, they also have other Christmas wares for sale in their farm store — and, of course, hot chocolate. On the farm, you can chop down your own scotch and white pine trees, or you can find precut fir trees like balsam and douglas firs on the lot.
650 North Jefferson Street, Kearney
What to pick: Apples, pumpkins, strawberries and tulips
Entrance fee: Weekday tickets start at $16.95 online. Children under 2 are free.
What else you’ll find: The Fun Farm in Kearney is probably one of the larger farms to explore in the Northland — we typically can’t get to all the activities in one visit. Their tulip fest in the spring is huge and impressive, and things pick up again in the fall with apple picking. However, you can also entertain the family with their petting zoo, many treehouses to explore, barnyard games, slides, a corn pit, obstacle courses, trampolines, and the country store.
18545 County Road H, Weston
What to pick: Apples, blackberries, cherries, peaches, pumpkins and strawberries
Entrance fee: $5 in the summer and $9 on fall weekdays ($15 for weekends), ages 2 and up
What else you’ll find: Weston Orchard has some of the biggest variety of produce of Northland farms, but they’ve got activities, too! Though some of the activities vary by season, they have obstacle courses and games for the kids, a corn pit, petting zoo, treehouses, hay rides, a zipline, carousel, corn maze and a zinnia garden for photo ops.
908 F Highway, Smithville
What to pick: Blackberries and blueberries
Entrance fee: Free to pick
What else you’ll find: Formerly Duncan’s, this charming berry patch next to the owner’s residence is such a calming place in the countryside dedicated only to berry picking. You won’t find any additional activities here, but they do sell treats at the cash register and photo opportunities abound! Make sure you sign up for a picking slot on their Facebook page.
10700 Farmer's Lane, Platte City
What to pick: Pumpkins (and other squash) and sunflowers
Entrance fee: Free
What else you’ll find: During the late summer, get a photo op and pick some tall sunflowers, or come back in the fall to take a wagon out to the pumpkin patch. If you don’t want the trek, find some pre-picked pumpkins, as well as mums and other produce. They also have two mazes and hay bales to climb.
16300 Wilkerson Road, Weston
What to pick: Apples, pumpkins and wildflowers
Entrance fee: Free general admission, with costs for the maze, grain train, pony rides and hayrides
What else you’ll find: The Red Barn Farm now has their own barbecue for sale due to a partnership with The Rub, in case you forgot to pack your picnic! Kids will also enjoy all the rides mentioned above, plus the barnyard animals and country store. They also now have a you-pick wildflower patch in the late summer.
1 Crawford Lane, Liberty
What to pick: Apples, blackberries, peaches and raspberries
Entrance fee: Free to pick
What else you’ll find: This orchard is primarily just that — an orchard! However, the family who runs the farm does have baked goods and other treats for sale, and they also offer educational tours or plein air painting sessions by appointment.
While most of us don’t have to farm our own food anymore, sometimes it’s nice to step into the fields to get our hands dirty and find some peak local produce that we picked ourselves.