Hartland Orchard


Did you know Virginia produces roughly 6 million bushels of apples every year? That’s equal to about 252 million pounds of apples! With over 100 commercial orchards and over 16,000 acres of land, Virginia is ranked 6th in apple production in the nation. Traveling west of Washington DC, you’ll find of the best apple picking Virginia has to offer.

Fall is our favorite season and this year we took the opportunity to revisit one of our favorite apple orchards, Hartland Orchard. We’ve been going to Hartland for years and they have yet to disappoint. The orchards are open beginning mid-May through the end of October and have some of the best pick your own fruits in the DMV.

With multiple varieties of apples available, including cortland, grimes golden, and granny smith, Hartland is able to fulfill all of your apple needs. We love to visit their pumpkin patch to pick our own jack-o-lantern pumpkins and choose from a variety of pre-cut cinderella pumpkins. Hartland Orchard is a day trip that cannot be beat on a crisp autumn day. Without fail, our yearly drive home with a car full of pumpkins and apples put us in our autumnal spirit.

We love getting to the orchard right when they open, which is usually around 9:00 am – that way we can miss the late afternoon crowds and experience the Virginia fall morning chill. This year we drove up the mountain roads expecting to be one of the first arrivers, to our surprise we found the orchards busier than ever.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed that a lot of our favorite outdoor activities were busier than usual. And this was definitely the case for Hartland. Once parked, we walked up to the top of the hill and worked our way back down grabbing apples along the way. What we saw throughout our hike was a little discouraging. We saw people climbing the trees to shake apples down. Most of the apples that hit the ground were not picked up. Originally, we planned on picking between three to four bushels of apples for baking, eating, and giving away, but this year, we struggled to pick two. 

We felt mixed emotions about this experience. On one hand we were happy to see Hartland’s turnout had almost tripled from the year before. However, it is important to remember the sustainability and longevity of the orchard. We saw the impacts of over-picking in the orchard first hand – we went to visit the farm in early September and again the last week of October. Trees were bare by the end of October with ripe fruit rotting on the ground. During this pandemic we should help our local family farms by continuing to build up our local food supply. We hope to one day bring our (future) children to orchards like Hartland and will continue to support our local farmers weekly with visits to farmers markets.