The strawberry season is short and sweet near NYC. If, like me, you can't squeeze a trip to a strawberry patch into your family's schedule, plan instead an outing for juicy blueberry, blackberry and raspberry picking when school is out. These berries are usually in season July through the end of August and some farms even have a second crop of raspberries that ripen later in the summer, and of course, there will be peach picking come August. So there is plenty of time for your family to get a fruit picking session in.
Berry picking is great for families with younger kids, because fruit is often low to the ground and can be plucked off the bush without a lift from an adult. The experience can also be more pleasant than a day at the farm in the busy and chilly fall season. With fewer people and less agri-tainment, kids are less distracted from picking.
We've got 18 spots in the tristate area, all less than 2 hours from NYC—including one accessible by mass transit—and perfect for a family berry picking outing, plus our helpful been-there-done-that tips. A word of caution: Approximate driving times below do not include traffic. You'll probably run into some, especially on summer weekends near the entrances to popular farms.
Check out our comprehensive guide to all the nearby pick-your-own farms for everything from peaches to flowers and veggies.