There’s something good-old-fashioned about picking your own fruits and vegetables at one of Ohio’s many local farms.

A bumpy wagon ride to the fields, an empty bucket, and fields of ripe produce always seems to promise adventure. You realize just how different every strawberry looks — heart-shaped, oblong drops, fat mounds of juicy red. You learn just how much care goes into harvesting fresh-grown foods. There’s an ounce of pride in every picked goody.

You see how weather affects crops and notice ways that farmers work to help their grand gardens grow. You feel the earth with your hands — and appreciate exactly how resourceful we can be with seeds, attention, and lots of patience. There are so many lessons to learn and, of course, there’s the delicious reward at the end of an hour — or an entire afternoon — picking your own.

After an early June trip to Fitch’s Farm Market in Avon, my children and I returned home with two buckets of strawberries and plans for pie: a homemade crust like my Swedish Grammy made, the same recipe her relatives prepared at their Minnesota bakery. We washed the berries, and popped many right into our mouths while standing over the kitchen sink. It’s a wonder enough survived to make filling for our dessert!

The final product, piled with whipped cream, was a fulfilling end to our day. (My 3-year-old daughter and I enjoyed pie for breakfast the next morning, too!)

Why not plan an outing a Northeast Ohio Pick-Your-Own farm? Here’s a primer of what to pick when in Ohio. There, you’ll also find a handy directory of farms close to you. While we’re fresh out of strawberry season, there’s a lot growing on this summer.

June

  • Cucumbers
  • Snap beans
  • Squash
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Onions

July

  • Lima beans
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines

August

  • Collard greens
  • Sweet Corn
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Okra