Although many of us struggle to transition from summer to autumn, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the season. As we leave the long leisurely days of summer behind us, we learn to embrace the more structured routines that come along with fall. Many people enjoy their autumn traditions, which may include visiting corn mazes with the kids, picking apples, baking sweet treats, taking weekend road trips, visiting vineyards, or attending (or hosting) annual Halloween fetes. Warm up to the new season by enjoying all of the festivities that come along with it. Here are some ideas to kickstart your season.
Averill Farm, Washington Depot, CT
This fall, visit Averill Farm to sample its homemade cider, apple cider donuts, jams, and jellies. Beyond fresh cut blooms, Averill also sells locally-sourced pies, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, colorful mums, maple syrup, honey, cheddar cheese, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, and gift items. The family-run farm has been operated continuously by the Averills since it was purchased way back in 1746. Although it was a dairy farm for many years, the 260-acre property is now a fruit orchard that produces hay and Christmas trees. Tyson Averill (of the 10th generation) currently runs the farm with help from his wife Jennifer, father Sam, mother Susan, and several dedicated employees. Averill’s apples and pears are grown in the 30 acre orchard and are sold as picked fruit and pick-your-own. Although more than 100 varieties are grown, approximately 20 are available for customers to pick.
250 Calhoun St, Washington Depot, CT. Call (860) 868-2777, or visit online at www.averillfarm.com.
Daisey Hill Farm, Millerton, NY
Millerton’s Daisey Hill Farm is the destination for snapping up seasonal autumn fare. Its charming market offers everything from pumpkins to gourds, winter squash, potatoes, and onions. One of the highlights of Dailey Hill is its fun corn maze, which kids will certainly enjoy exploring. There’s also a mining wheel where the wee ones can mine gems.
438 Indian Lake Rd., Millerton, NY. Call (518) 789-3393, or visit online at www.daiseyhill.com.
The Farm Store at Willow Brook, Millerton, NY
Autumn is an ideal time to enjoy all the benefits of this 450-acre family-owned dairy farm in Millerton. Its colorful farm store is an emblem of authentic country living. At the farm, you’ll find yourself surrounded by pumpkins of various shapes and sizes. While there, explore the corn maze, witness a herd of cattle grazing in an open pasture, and indulge in the sweet taste of delectable baked goods. With a view of a small, lively duck pond and the scenic, open air fields outside the village, Willow Brook Farms has been a family business since it was first purchased back in 1943. The farm is home to more than 100 Holstein-Friesian and Jersey dairy cows, which are pedigreed and registered for shows. Its shop is proud to provide the community and visitors with superior quality dairy, local fruits and veggies, and non-GMO sweet corn, as well as its own pork, beef, eggs, and gift items.
196 Old Post Rd. 4, Millerton, NY. Call (518) 789-6880, or visit online at www.thefarmstoreatwillowbrook.
Golden Harvest Farms, Valatie, NY
This season, Golden Harvest Farms welcomes guests to enjoy its new Harvest Smokehouse, which offers takeout, as well as outdoor and greenhouse dining. A giant pumpkin display and hundreds of colorful mums welcome visitors to the festive “select your own” activities. After a long day of leaf peeping, head to the Harvest Spirits distillery and terraced garden to unwind with a cocktail. While at Golden Harvest, you can also sample the apple cider donuts.
Golden Harvest traces its roots back to the 1950s, but the story of apples being grown on its land extends back much further. The productive apple orchards of the upper Hudson Valley have a long and storied history. In the late 1940s, production in Columbia County reached its historical peak. According to Golden Harvest, about 1.5 million bushels were harvested annually. In 1957, Golden Harvest opened its road stand to the public. Every fall, at harvest time, this stretch of road transforms into a seasonal attraction – customers take in the colorful outdoor apple displays and select from a wide selection of seasonal produce. The orchards now comprise over 200 acres, with upwards of 45,000 apple trees. Nearly 30 varieties are grown, including Honeycrisp and new varieties such as SnapDragon, RubyFrost, and Zestar.
3074 Rt. 9, Valatie, NY. Call (518) 758-7683, or visit online at www.goldenharvestfarms.com.
Greig Farm, Red Hook, NY
Greig Farm welcomes guests to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon picking seasonal fruits and vegetables. ‘Tis the season for delicious apples, pumpkins, and blackberries. Beyond the pick-your-own and scenic farm trails, the multi-faceted Red Hook-based farm offers a market, which is open daily and serves lunch and dinner to go. A petting area invites guests to visit the adorable goats. The family-run farm also boasts a craft shop, which features work from 30 local artisans.
The Greig family’s legacy goes back to 1942 when Marion and Robert Greig met in Hudson and settled in Red Hook to start a small dairy and fruit farm. In 1952, the farm started welcoming neighbors for pick-your-own strawberries. In 1975, the couple’s son Norman began making the pick-your-own a core component of the farm.
Over the following decade, Greig Farm began growing blueberries, blackberries, asparagus, and pumpkins. In 1998, Norman sold the cows and exited the dairy business, but luckily the pick-your-own and artisans remain.
227 Pitcher Ln., Red Hook, NY. Call (845) 210-5897, or visit online at www.greigfarm.com
Rose Hill Farm, Red Hook, NY
Rose Hill Farm is certainly fulfilling its mission: to honor its family farm legacy, engage its community, empower the local economy, and tread lightly. For fall, head to the farm for apple picking, sampling wine and cider, and a festive fall vibe. Please visit Rose Hill’s website’s calendar or events page for all activities, including enticing food pop-ups, live music, and food-themed evenings throughout October. The farm traces its roots back to 1798 when Peter Fraleigh initially purchased the land and established and named Rose Hill Farm in 1812. Six generations proceeded him.
Some recent history: In 2001, the New York State Agricultural Society honored Rose Hill Farm and its then owners Dave and Karen Fraleigh, as the only fruit orchard among ten Bicentennial Family Farms. Two decades ago, the Fraleighs transitioned the farm from a wholesale apple orchard to a pick-your-own destination. They also expanded the crop offerings. In 1998, the Fraleighs sold their development rights to the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, which through a conservation easement, protects farmland and helps preserve the Hudson Valley’s world-renowned landscape. In 2015, Bruce and Holly Brittain and Chris Belardi purchased Rose Hill Farm. Their shared vision was to grow the family-friendly orchard, be effective stewards of the land, and preserve the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. In 2020, the Rose Hill Winery brand launched and the Taproom opened its doors. The festive farm is a great place to visit during the fall.
19 Rose Hill Farm, Red Hook, NY. Call (845) 758-4215, or visit online at www.pickrosehillfarm.com.
Mead Orchards, Tivoli, NY
Mead is a working family farm with more than 100 acres in cultivation. It takes pride in its stunning variety of apples available for picking, including favorites such as Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Macoun, and Cortland. It also boasts dozens of less common varieties such as SnapDragon, EverCrisp, Crimson Crisp, Jonagold, RubyFrost, and Idared. For autumn, Mead entices guests with its enormous corn maze.
At eight acres, it’s twice the size of last year’s maze. In tribute to the people of Ukraine, this year’s maze has a bright, bold sunflower theme. A portion of the proceeds from the maze will benefit the Ukraine Emergency Refugee Fund. This year also marks the introduction of Apple Town – a children’s village/playground that features a child-sized schoolhouse, church, barn, houses, and beyond. Let the kids explore and enjoy. Also on the menu are fresh cider doughnuts, hayrides, food trucks, and a farmstand with pumpkins and fresh picked veggies.
15 Scism Rd. Tivoli, NY. Call (845) 756-5641, or visit online at www.meadorchards.com.
Whitecliff Vineyard at Hudson, NY
For a mod vibe in a historic locale, stop in to Whitecliff Vineyard’s new Tasting Room. Set on ten acres in a spectacular setting above the Hudson River, guests can enjoy a leisurely afternoon of flights or a few glasses of wine.