By Julie Sumper
Larriland Farm in Howard County is one of the few "pick your own" farms that is located close to Baltimore. The farm is family owned and operated and open for business for three seasons out of every year. During the fall however, Larriland becomes any apple picker’s paradise, with 16 different apple varieties that ripen throughout the season which, according to the farms' website, runs from mid August until late October.
“Some of our apple varieties include Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gala, IdaRed, Braeburn and Fuji,” said Lynn Moore, the president of Larriland.
Moore is the second oldest daughter of Larry and Polly Moore, who purchased the farm in 1960. The farm is also run by her two brothers, named Guy and Fenby.
“I handle the management and organization of the crops as well as of the farm,” she said, “but it does take at least three of us to run this place, and depending on the season we hire a lot of students to help out.”
Before 1960, the Moore family owned another farm in Columbia. It wasn’t until the mid-70's however, that Larriland was transformed into a “pick your own” farm. The Moores started out with strawberries as their “pick your own” crop and soon opened their 16 acres of apples to the public.
“We weren’t making enough money,” said Lynn. “Farming is a hard business, and we needed a new way to derive income.” Lynn also said that she now considers the farm to be a beneficial part of the community.
“The farm provides a lot of employment for young people, and a lot of our neighbors consider us an asset,” she said. “I mean, our business does add a lot of traffic to the road, but we don’t really require a significant amount of services for the amount of land that we own.”
For the most part Larriland is a self-sustaining farm that produces not nearly as much waste as the land would if it were used in any other way. The farm is also run on a 3 year crop rotation cycle in order to prevent any disease.
While the variety and quantity of apples helps to make Larriland unique, during the fall season the farm is also filled with pumpkins, squash, spinach and more. A hayride running weekends in October travels around the farm and into the woods where one can enjoy displays of “Famous Pumpkins in America,” and “Alice in Larriland.”
As far as the picking goes, Larriland lets you pick whatever amount you want, and then they weigh what you wind up picking. Other apple orchards offer different sized bags that you can buy and fill. You pay before you even see the orchards.
“You pick whatever you want,” said Lynn. “We just hope that people aren’t picking crops without buying them because then they go to waste.”
When asked about the future of the farm, Moore said that it is really hard to determine what will happen next. “We do plan on putting in another 2 acres of apples, and we might add some more blackberries,” she said.
However, when it comes to the next generation of the farm, Moore said that the kids are all too young to know whether or not they’d like to be in the business.
“Hey Sam,” she yelled at one of the older of the Moore children. “Are you gonna take over the farm once you're older?"
"Well see," she said. "There's you're answer."