Pick Your Own Fun

This fam­ily found a prizewin­ning plan while look­ing for a dif­fer­ent way to farm.

Farm & Ranch Living - - THE WAY WE LIVE - Story by Jor­dan Ber­ry­man Surry, Vir­ginia

My hus­band, Steve, and I are the proud own­ers of Col­lege Run Farms, a 40-acre pick­y­our-own fruit and veg­etable farm in Surry, Vir­ginia. We have two chil­dren, 10-year-old Jake and 7-year-old Henry, who are big helpers on the farm.

The farm be­gan in 1999 af­ter Farmer Steve grad­u­ated from col­lege with a de­gree in agri­cul­ture and ap­plied eco­nom­ics. Steve is the sixth gen­er­a­tion to farm in his fam­ily and was in­ter­ested in try­ing some­thing be­sides the small grains and row crops his fam­ily tra­di­tion­ally grows. The farm is open six months of the year, from late April through Oct. 31. We grow straw­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries, pump­kins and other seasonal crops, in­clud­ing sweet corn, wa­ter­mel­ons and but­ter beans. As a pick-your-own farm, we al­low cus­tomers to en­ter our fields and har­vest their own pro­duce. Our pick­ing sched­ule be­gins around late April when straw­ber­ries are ripe. Sum­mer and blue­berry sea­son come next— from June through early Au­gust. Cus­tomers pick sweet corn from the field in late June and July. We end our year with a pick-your-own pump­kin patch and corn maze in the fall.

Fresh, de­li­cious home­made ice cream is another pop­u­lar item at our farm. We make it sea­son­ally on-site us­ing our own fruit: straw­berry in the spring and blue­berry in the sum­mer. The fa­vorite fla­vor this time of year is pump­kin; peo­ple of­ten visit just to get a cone or bowl. My sis­ter Re­becca Ca­bell is our of­fi­cial ice cream maker, but Farmer Steve helps with ice cream pro­duc­tion dur­ing busy times.

Steve is also a part­ner in his fam­ily’s nearby Beech­land Farms, where we live and where he grows peanuts, cot­ton, soybeans and corn. He works at Beech­land Farms full time, so he keeps busy jug­gling all his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

We are in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate to have so many won­der­ful fam­ily mem­bers help us with all the balls we have in the air at the same time. My mom and step­dad, Cather­ine and Mack Walls, help wait on cus­tomers, baby-sit the boys, and make fudge and pump­kin but­ter—their spe­cialty. The other grand­par­ents—my step­mom, Sassy Ren­ney, and

Steve’s par­ents, Joanie and Mac Ber­ry­man—also help us with the kids or other tasks on su­per-busy days. And we have a won­der­ful staff at Col­lege Run help­ing us each sea­son.

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