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Rivah Berry Farms

by Madison White Franks

Rivah Berry Farms

It’s a summer day and you’re looking for a different family fun activity but you are stumped. Look no more. Rivah berry farms offer a berry-picking good time for all ages.

There are three pick-your-own berry farms in the region: Westmoreland Berry Farm in Westmoreland, and Eastfields Farm and Bentwaters Farm, both in Mathews.

The largest of the three berry farms is Westmoreland Berry Farm (WBF). Located on the Rappahannock River and Troy Creek in Oak Grove, WBF is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The farm was founded in 1983 by Alan and Nathalie Voorhees. Alan bought the 1,500 acres in 1979 to possibly develop the land and then someone suggested he grow berries.

Rivah Berry Farms
Strawberries at Westmoreland Berry Farm

The Voorhees’ daughter, Susan Hunt, now owns and operates the farm.

WBF offers strawberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and orchard fruits including peaches, apples, apricots, nectarines, pie cherries, sweet cherries and plums. They also grow vegetables such as asparagus and tomatoes. In the fall they offer pumpkins and squash.

Only the berries are offered on a pick-your-own basis.

Alan Voorhees donated 700 acres to the Nature Conservancy of Virginia. The Voorhees Nature Preserve, adjacent to WBF, has hiking trails and birdwatching.

“When you come here for the day, you can go birdwatching,” said Hunt. “It’s a fun day out for the family,” said Hunt.

“Last year we opened our beer and wine garden called the Eagle’s Nest and we serve Virginia beer and wine and that is popular after a day of berry picking.”

A popular attraction at WBF is its goats. They are a must see for any visit on the farm. The ‘Goat Walk’ is a ramp that extends across the road leading into the farm. They also offer goat yoga, a fitness trend practiced in tandem with goats.

Rivah Berry Farms
Blackberries at Westmoreland Berry Farm

The farm includes Twinkle’s Cafe, where you can have fresh fruit sundaes, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, chicken salad and snacks.

The country store gives patrons the opportunity to buy jams, salsas, honey and even the berries without having to pick your own.

WBF offers festivals every month including  a May Strawberry Festival, June Father’s Day festival, July Blackberry Festival, August Peach Festival, September Apple Festival and October Pumpkin Festival.

In Mathews County, Larry and Rosalie Brown operate Bentwaters Farm on Pepper Creek. Although they focus more on their livestock of Shetland sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats, English Angora rabbits, free range chickens and honey bees, they do offer spray-free pick-your-own blueberries. The farm is open by appointment.

Also in Mathews, Peter and Diane Perina operate Eastfields Farm. They offer spray-free blueberries. Visitors are encouraged to call and see if they are open or to check the farm’s Facebook.

Go out and explore the Rivah berry farms and get to picking some delicious berries!


Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe

Ingredients needed:
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 package dry pectin
3/4 cup water
Directions:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

  1. Mix crushed strawberries with sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for one minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers.
  2. Place tops on the containers and leave for 24-hours. Place into freezer and store frozen until ready to use.