Like for so many, fall is by far one of my favorite times of the year. The leaves are changing colors, college football is in full swing, and harvest is underway. Oh, and we can usually start wearing boots again.
It also presents a perfect opportunity for everyone to come and enjoy the farm. Some of my favorite childhood fall memories were from time spend in an apple orchard, and the smell still makes me think of home. With the rise of agritourism, there are usually plenty of fun activities that are appropriate for all ages. So, grab the kids, your favorite sweatshirt, your trendy boots, and head out into the country to enjoy the season!
Here are some of my favorite fall activities on the farm:
1. Hay rides
Hay rides are a great way to celebrate the season and tour a local farm at the same time. This activity is family-friendly and could not be easier — just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. Bonus points if the hay ride is haunted!
2. Apple cider mills
These might be a little harder to come by than most of these fall activities, but if you can find an actual cider mill that is open the public, make sure to visit. Fresh apples are processed into cider right before you’re able to enjoy the sweet drink. Of course, don’t forget apple cider’s bestie: doughnuts!
3. Pumpkin patches
Pumpkins are a staple for fall decorating and offer an opportunity to also get out to the farm. Instead of purchasing pumpkins at the grocery or hardware store, take the family right out to the pumpkin patch. To make carving easier, consider taking the pattern right out to the field so you get the best fit! Once you’re done carving, collect those seeds to bake!
4. Corn maze
This is one of my absolutely favorite fall activities, especially as we get closer to Halloween. Best done at night, corn mazes are great for older kids and adults. Usually, the goal is to wander your way around the maze in search of various check points. Whether you take a map or try it on your own, the corn maze will definitely test your sense of adventure!
5. You-pick apples
For a more authentic farm experience, why not take the family out to pick apples? Many farms have orchards that are open for people to come and get the full experience of picking their own apples. It is a very valuable lesson for youngsters to see right where their food comes from. Bring your own baskets or bags, just in case the farm doesn’t supply them. Also, don’t just assume that an orchard is open for the public! Unless it is clearly marked, be sure to ask permission.
6. Caramel apples
If picking your own apples seems like a bit much, making caramel apples is still a fun and clever way to celebrate the bounty of this time of year. Using fresh apples from a local farm is even better. Caramels can be found in any grocery store. Once melted, dip your apple and enjoy with your favorite toppings. Don’t feel too bad about eating the candy — the apple makes it another serving of fruit!
The easiest way to find any of these activities in your area is to throw the activity and your location into a general web search. If that doesn’t work, try contacting a local farm organization or your state’s department of agriculture.
Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry.