Hickory is in the southeastern corner of Chesapeake, bordering the North Carolina state line to its south and Virginia Beach to its east. A historically rural, farming region, Hickory has grown significantly in the past decade, including some excellent family friendly, new home communities, while still retaining its country roots.
For those who value fresh, local food and love to support family-owned farms (aka – locavores), Hickory is the place to be. You’ll find plenty of honor system roadside stands with tomatoes and squash from a neighbor’s backyard garden. You’ll also find larger farm markets with great selections and family fun. Here are a few of our favorites.
Hickory Ridge Farm
Hickory Ridge Farm is just a few minutes from the state line on Battlefield Boulevard and you might speed right by it if it weren’t for the big wooden strawberry signs. Hickory Ridge is a local favorite for their U-pick strawberry fields which generally open in late April and stay full of fresh, ripe berries into June. Don’t miss their annual “Strawberry JAMboree” each May with hayrides, a farm animal petting zoo, local craft and food vendors and, of course, lots of strawberries. If you’re not in the mood to pick your own, there are always pre-picked berries at their farm stand, which is also stocked with locally made jams, breads, and honey in addition to lots of local produce.
Mount Pleasant Farms
Mount Pleasant Farms is Chesapeake’s only farm with a U-pick peach orchard. You can pick a peck of peaches from about mid-June through August, but their farm store is open nearly year-round with lots of local goodies. From goat’s milk soap and lotions to peach cider and pickled okra, their selection always makes the stop worthwhile. As popular as their peaches are their fresh eggs, which are available year round. For those who want to see the source of their food, just head around to the side of the store where several of their chickens live. Just don’t be surprised if they come begging as they’re accustomed to folks tossing them handfuls of feed (that can be purchased inside the store).
Literally next door to Mount Pleasant Farm is Bergey’s Breadbasket, famous for their hand-dipped ice cream and homemade pies. In addition to fresh produce, cheese, milk, eggs and baked goods, Bergey’s makes delicious sandwiches to order and is the perfect stop for a to-go lunch on the way to the beach. While you’re there, make sure to say “hi” to the resident goats out front.
There really are lots of benefits to living in the rural part of Chesapeake, and access to fresh, local food is just one of them. If you’re looking to put down your own roots in Hampton Roads, consider buying or building a new home with a local builder on the fertile soil right here in Hickory.