Review of: Matt Family Orchard
By Stacy Curtis
Persimmons, Pumpkins, and More!
My girls and I have many fun memories from u-pick farms, so every year I sit down at my computer and research local farms. This year, the Matt Family Orchard caught my eye when they mentioned persimmon picking among the other bounty they offered. We had never picked persimmons, or eaten one for that matter, so we planned a visit with Rick Matt, the owner.
Matt and his wife Nadia started the orchard seventeen years ago. They now have over 5,000 plants that provide u-pick opportunities from May through November with a country atmosphere. I visited Rick in late September just when his persimmons were ripening and citrus (mandarin oranges) were not quite ready yet. His people-friendly personality is one of the reasons his customers keep coming back year after year. Some families and local schools have been making pilgrimages to the Matt Family Orchard for seven years or more.
Sharing the Bounty
The Matt Family Orchard is not just a u-pick farm. Rick delivers bulk pumpkins to churches and schools for their fall events, and sells raw local honey as well. The orchard is probably best known for its farm tours and harvest festival. With a minimum of 15 people, kids and adults can take a tour, join a hayride and eat hot dogs and s ’mores by the campfire. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, homeschool groups, and families all take advantage of the farm adventure. During fall tours, kids get to take home a pumpkin as well. The orchard even has several photo staging areas for families to take their fall photos.
Persimmons are particularly pleasing to the palate. (sorry, I just couldn’t resist that!) Matt explained that it is probably the sweetest fruit he’s ever eaten. He sometimes cuts them up into a mixed fruit salad and his guests quickly ask for more. The girls and I eagerly took the snips, fruit picker, and wagon to pick our own. As we filled our basket to the brim and hauled our persimmons back, Nadia told us to put them in a dark place and check them daily until they were fully ripe. These Asian persimmons are firm when picked, and so need to ripen to their soft, heavy sweet nature.
Matt knows his fruit. His motto is: Fresh to You as God Blesses Us. Although each year holds different picking dates depending on the weather, he gave me the general fruit-picking guideline for the Matt Family Orchard.
- May – Blueberries
- June – Blackberries, Peaches, Nectarines
- July – Figs
- August – Jujube
- October-November – Persimmon, Citrus, Pumpkins
Good to Know
- The Matt Family Orchard is located just West of Tomball and directions are here
- Call the Fruit Hotline at 281-351-7676 before you go to make sure the fruit is ripe and ready
- The orchard also sells local honey (they have 80 hives), preserves, and pickled fruits and veggies
- No snack food is sold on site. There is, however, a drink machine in case you get thirsty.
- The two clean and sparkling flushable toilets are an upgrade from the usual u-pick farm
- The tours and harvest fests are group-exclusive and have a minimum of 15 people. In other words, when you book one, you won’t have strangers jumping on your hay wagon or dropping their flaming marshmallow next to you. Cost is $8 per person.
- Berry and fruit tree seedlings are sold throughout the year from their nursery