Fall Fun at the Farms

by Melissa Roberts

Jona Gold apples at High Hill Orchards in Meriden, CT

Fall is the perfect season to enjoy your local farms in all their autumnal glory. Pick a pumpkin or a bushel of apples, sip cider and chow down on donuts, hitch a hay ride or get lost in a corn maze. Some of FGFG’s favorite farms have fall fun in store while the season is in full swing.

Jones Family Farm

On over 400 acres in Shelton, CT, Jones Family Farm grows over 50 kinds of pumpkins and squashes in a range of colors, sizes and shapes, many that are also delicious to eat! Jones calls their patch Pumpkinseed Hill, and it delivers on its name.  Every year, Jones creates a theme for their farm-based, fall amusement scene with handmade play sets little kids can scale, photo stands, farm animals, hayrides, and a corn maze on weekends. This year, Jones’ Pumpkin Round Up theme has many fun cowboy touches.

Through October 31st, 10:00am to 5:30pm

120 Beardsley Road, Shelton, CT. Call Crop Report for details, (203) 929-8425. Weekend Tip: bring a cart or wagon because you will want to get several pumpkins!

Beardley’s Cider Mill & Orchard

Stop at Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard on your way to Jones (it’s right on 110) for a piping hot, freshly pressed cup of cider. Best paired with freshly made cider donuts.

For the grown ups, Beardsley’s Cider Mill offers untreated cider for making hard (alcoholic) cider. You can drop off your own container, barrel, or carboy, and they will fill it with fresh cider. The best apples for making hard cider usually ripen in late October thru early November such as Winesap, Baldwin, Northern Spy, Golden Russet, and Yellow Delicious. They also offer 5-gallon carboy starter kits which include a carboy filled with cider and a water seal. Fifty gallon used whiskey barrels are also sometimes available. Call ahead for availability. Ask for Dave or Dan Beardsley.

For the entire family, Beardsley features a dedicated Pick-Your-Own Orchard with thousands of dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees. The trees will only grow to a maximum of 10 to 12 feet for easy picking. PYO apples is only on weekends and holidays through October from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Cash and Check only.

Call ahead to see what varieties are ready to be picked.

278 Leavenworth Road, Route 110 in the White Hills section of Shelton, CT, (203) 926-1098

Drazen Orchards 

Drazen uses integrated pest management (IPM)practices in their farming. Right now pick your own apples is well under way and the season isn’t as long as you think! Click here for a calendar of varieties available for PYO. Choose to take a scenic walk to the picking areas or take a wagon ride (a favorite for kids and fatigued adults alike).

The EPA defines IPM as “the coordinated use of pest and environmental information with available pest control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”

Drazen’s farm stand is open through November from 9:00am to 6:00pm, 7 days a week.

251 Wallingford Rd Cheshire, CT (203) 272-7985

High Hill Orchard

High Hill in Meriden, CT is a local family farm offering apples, pears, fresh cider, pumpkins, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Pick your own apples runs through mid November.

Call for PYO varieties available. Weekends open from 10:00am to 5:00pm, weekdays 12:00 – 6:00pm. Closed Mondays.

170 Fleming Rd, Meriden, CT, (203) 294-0276

Hickory Hill Orchards

On 33 acres in Cheshire, CT, Hickory Hill Orchards offers many varieties of pick your own apples. The orchard also grows acres of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, and corn stalks for all your autumn decorating. On weekends you can get in the spirit with free hay rides into the orchard picking areas. Their Country Store sells fresh baked pies and other baked goods, cider donuts, and fresh cider.

Pick your own fruit hours are from 9:30am to 5:00pm through October 13th. Click here for the picking schedule.

351 South Meriden Road (Route 70), (203) 272-3824

Ambler Farm’s Fright Night

Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th from 6:00 to 8:00pm
. Drop off the kids (grades 3-5) for haunted activities and frightful (and not so frightful) storytelling. Past attendees still talk about the ghost dog who frequents the farm! Creepy sights and mysterious sounds abound when the moon rises. Refreshments included.
 Moonlight Hay Ride
 and a Guessing Jar to win the farm’s largest pumpkin
. Games, too, if you dare play….

Enrollment is limited and advance registration required.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s Harvest Festival Weekend

Heckscher Farm at the museum is hosting a seasonal festival Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th.

Enjoy apple cider demonstrations, a scarecrow contest, pumpkin carving, and fun activities for the whole family! Wear a costume and participate in the daily costume parade. Other activities include an apple slingshot, farm animal demonstrations, face-painting, storytelling, children’s crafts and much more. Hayride tickets will be available for purchase, and the museum galleries will be open featuring the exhibition BY HER HAND: Art of the Native American Women & The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis.

Local food trucks will be in attendance including Cowabunga, Hot Off The Grille, LobsterCraft, Maddy’s Food Truck, Skinny Pines, and The Spud Stud.

Tickets are $25.00 each. Spaces go quickly! Click here to register.

39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT


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