10 Early Fall Food Destinations

By Analiese Paik

Chestnuts still in a bur at High Hill Orchard. It's rare to be able to pick chestnuts since efforts to repopulate our forests after the early 1900's blight are still in the early stages.

Fall has arrived and the change in seasons has us thinking of apple picking and pie baking, warm drinks, and outdoor activities that don’t involve sand and bathing suits. Our coastal community is rich with opportunities to take in the beauty of the great outdoors this time of year while enjoying local farms and food, with many more only a day trip away.

Here are a few early fall food destinations to help you plan outings with friends and family. Tour a farm or winery, pick orchard fruit, attend a food festival or enter your giant pumpkin or squash in to a competition. Enjoy the fall season; it’s part of what makes living in New England so special.

  1. Warrup’s Farm, Redding – Plan a weekend visit in October to this Certified Organic farm to enjoy hay rides, pick a pumpkin from the vine, visit the barnyard animals, and wind your way through the meadow maze. Call (203) 938-9403 to check the availability of the farm’s maple syrup, maple candy, gourds and fall vegetables at the farm stand. The farm is located at 11 John Read Road, Redding, CT 06896, 1.2 miles north of Redding Center, off Route 107. Visit the website for more information.
  2. Ambler Farm, Wilton – Visit this organic, community farm for an afternoon of family fun including apple slingshots and the incredible pumpkin trebuchet at their annual Ambler Farm Day, September 28, from 10-4 pm. Read our feature article here.
  3. High Hill Orchard, Meriden – Plan a Saturday or Sunday trip to the orchard the first week of October to gather chestnuts, pick apples, and buy squash for both eating and decorating your home and  yard. High Hill grows their fruit with organic fertilizers, without herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and with minimal use of pesticides. Their vegetables are grown organically. Read our feature article here.
  4. The 10th Annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival, October 1-12. Attend this enormous festival on October 11 and 12, from 10-5, at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds to buy new crop garlic for the next winter, attend garlic growing lectures and cooking demos, and shop for specialty garlic products ranging from garlic sea salt to garlic oils. Read our feature article here.
  5. The 5th Annual Connecticut Cheese & Wine Festival, October 18. This celebration of local artisan made foods and wines will be held at Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road in New Preston, on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Read our feature article here.
  6. Wakeman Town Farm, Westport – Kids’ Sukkot Harvest Celebration on October 5. Visit this organic, community farm with your kids on Sunday, October 5, from 9:30 am until 11:30 am, to enjoy the final garden harvest and traditional Sukkot celebration that includes a variety of crafts and educational activities for children of all ages.  Pack your own lunch to enjoy at the farm from  11:30 to noon.  Admission is $5 per child to help cover costs of the children’s activities being provided. No registration required. Visit WTF’s website here.
  7. Millstone Farm, WiltonFamily Day at the Farm on Sunday Sept. 28. Take a tour of this sustainable family farm with Farmer Jaci and do some chores (egg collecting), meet the pigs, chickens, turkeys and sheep; and work in the garden and see all that’s grown at the farm.  Ages 5 to 10 years old recommended, accompanied by an adult. Limited space. Rain or shine, so wear rain gear if necessary. $20 per adult; $10 per child. Visit Millstone Farm’s website here.
  8. The Hickories, Ridgefield  – Farm Tour Learn about organic agriculture on this beautiful family farm that grows fruits, vegetables and raises livestock as you take a morning walk on Saturday, September 27 beginning at 9 am. Get an insider’s look at the different operations  – animals, vegetables, fruits, greenhouse growing and organic soil care. Free to CSA members, non-members $1. To learn more and sign up online, click here.
  9. Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen -Vineyard and Production Tour Every Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm through October 25 (weather permitting) this free tour will take you around the production and barrel room at SMV and show you what it takes to produce quality, estate grown wines without the use of pesticides. Read our feature story here.
  10. Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off Festival, Ridgefield – Ridgefield’s Ballard Park will be converted into a Giant Pumpkin Weigh off Festival on Sunday, September 28, 2014. This event will attract giant pumpkin growers from all over the region who will compete for cash prizes in competitions for the heaviest pumpkin and squash and the longest gourd. Read our feature article here.

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