As summer turns into fall, you can’t help but notice the beautiful produce filling Wisconsin’s cornfields. In addition to being the country’s largest producer of cranberries, our farmers grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, from apples and blackberries to asparagus and sweet corn.
For a fun day out enjoying Wisconsin produce at its very freshest, you can even find a local farm to pick your own fruits and vegetables. But what comes into season in the summer and fall? How do you pick Wisconsin produce when it’s at its freshest and most delicious? And where exactly can you go in Wisconsin for a pick-your-own farm adventure?
Well, those answers will change as the months do. Let’s have a look at some of the best Wisconsin fruits and vegetables and where to pick them as summer approaches fall this year.
August in Wisconsin means long, hot days; fireflies flickering at night; and sweet, dark summer berries. August brings the traditional last weeks of blueberry, raspberry, and cherry season in Wisconsin, so whether you like your berries fresh, in jams, or in pies and cobblers, it’s high time to get picking.
For a dose of “berry therapy,” consider a trip to Brooklyn’s own Blue Skies Farm, a certified organic farm that offers pick-your-own raspberries in a variety of colors beyond the traditional red. Or, if you can’t get enough of sweet Wisconsin blueberries, head on down to Chet’s Blueberry Farm in Stevens Point, where you can wander and pick more than eight different varieties of blueberry across the farm’s 12 acres—definitely enough for some smoothies, a pie, and a few leftover to eat on their own.
With September, summer starts its transition to fall, and for Wisconsinites, that means apple season. Wisconsin’s apple orchards offer a multitude of delicious apple varieties to enjoy fresh or in juices, pies, ciders, and sauces.
For a taste of history and a sip of local flavor with your apples, try Door County’s Lautenbach’s Orchard Country, a family-owned farm that’s been operating since 1955. In addition to pick-your-own apples, Lautenbach’s has an on-site winery and brews their own cider, plus a farmer’s market with pies, preserves, baked goods, and other tasty treats. Apple Holler in Sturtevant has 78 acres and over 50 varieties of apples, peaches, and pears, plus a farm shop and restaurant to enjoy on your visit.
As the name suggests, Forestville’s Cherry Lane Orchards is a cherry farm, but it also offers pick-your-own apples plus plenty of cherry-based recipes on their website for any leftover fruit you’ve kept dried or frozen.
Apple season in Wisconsin is still going strong in October, so perhaps a trip to Bayfield is in order. That’s where you’ll find the Bayfield Apple Festival. This event offers three days of apple picking, leaf peeping, and family-friendly events in the heart of Wisconsin’s apple country.
For an October tradition that the whole family will enjoy, consider a pumpkin-picking expedition. These seasonal gourds aren’t just a Halloween must-have, they can also be cooked in sweet and savory dishes. You know you’ve got a great jack-o’-lantern in the making when you’ve picked it from the vine yourself. Check out a pumpkin patch like Anderson’s Pleasant Patch, Hermanson Pumpkin Patch, or another patch near you for pumpkins, gourds, and other autumn treats.
Even if you live far away from your nearest pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm, there are still ways to enjoy Wisconsin’s seasonal produce at its freshest. Try searching out your local farmer’s market, or a farm-to-table restaurant to enjoy the bounty of Wisconsin at its very best—wherever in the Badger State you may be.