From pumpkin patches and harvest festivals to bountiful u-pick produce and cute animals, fall is the best time to visit a local farm
– August 16, 2018
1 of10Erin Kunkel
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, Pescadero, CA
It doesn’t get more picturesque than Harley Farms Goat Dairy, located just 50 miles south of San Francisco along the coast. Here you can gently pet Rosie the donkey’s nose, watch the llamas patrol the perimeter, and rub the hard working Anatolian shepherds’ and farm cats’ bellies. Once you have said your hellos, walk through the edible garden to start your guided tour of the pasture, milking parlor, and cheesemaking in the dairy (best for older children and adults). Make a day of it and take the scenic route along Highway 1 with stops at the pumpkin patches in Half Moon Bay. Reservations required, $35/person, harleyfarms.com.
Courtesy of Fox Hollow Farm
2 of10Courtesy of Fox Hollow Farm
Fox Hollow Farm, Issaquah, WA
You can play and explore the farm year-round at Fox Hollow, but you don’t want to miss out on the Fall Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 26) and Halloween Carnival (Oct. 27). Feed the chickens, ride a pony, and watch the salmon swim up Issaquah Creek before going all in on the autumn festivities. Dive in the corn bin, find your way through the hay maze, and brave the haunted forest. From $10/person or $50/car on weekends, foxhollowfamilyfarm.com.
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Courtesy of Ballyntyne
3 of10Courtesy of Ballyntyne
Ballyntyne Learning Farm, Salem, OR
This 40-acre learning farm is paradise for curious kids. Best for toddlers to third graders, each session covers a specific topic like endangered species or bugs with hands-on experiments and plenty of time to run free and explore. Outside of the crafts and guided education, kids can look for tracks in the field, dig for worms, and check the nesting box for just-laid eggs. $9/event, ballyntynelearningfarm.org.
Courtesy of Hidden Villa
4 of10Courtesy of Hidden Villa
Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills, CA
Say hello to the farm animals, explore the education garden, and look for bugs along the wooded wilderness trails on Hidden Villa’s 1,600-acre farm. Better yet, sign up for one of the non-profit’s guided programs such as the beekeeping class that ends with a look into a thriving hive, goat feeding and milking, or cheesemaking for a hands-on learning experience for the whole family. Open dawn-dusk Tuesday through Sunday, $10 parking fee, guided programs from $10/person, hiddenvilla.org.
Courtesy of Petersen Family Farm
5 of10Courtesy of Petersen Family Farm
Petersen Family Farm, Riverton, UT
This fifth-generation farm encourages you to slow down and get back in touch with nature. Arrive early to the pumpkin patch to marvel at the squash and gourds of every shape, color, and size in peace before getting to know the animals that call the farm home. There’s also face painting, tractor rides, and a corn maze to stretch your legs. Don’t forget to stop by the Farm Market for fresh produce and local goodies before you go. Farm open year-round; pumpkin patch Oct. 1-31; petersenfamilyfarm.com.
Courtesy of Garden Island Chocolate
6 of10Courtesy of Garden Island Chocolate
Garden Island Chocolate, Kauai, HI
This isn’t your typical farm or tropical island tour. Garden Island Chocolate’s three-hour experience takes you through the groves to learn about the cacao tree and sustainable farming practices. You will crack open the cacao pods and discover how chocolate is made before sitting down to taste up to 20 different Hawaiian-grown and -made chocolates. Reservations required, $29/children under 12, $75/adult, gardenislandchocolate.com.
Courtesy of Los Rios Rancho
7 of10Courtesy of Los Rios Rancho
Los Rios Rancho, Oak Glen, CA
Grab a basket and fill it up with fragrant berries and crisp apples at Los Rios Rancho. This working orchard is the largest apple farm in Southern California, and in the fall you can find raspberries, Gravensteins, and more than 20 varieties of pumpkins available for u-pick. When your baskets are full, stop by the farm kitchen for a warm chicken apple sausage sandwich and a buttery apple hand pie before taking a horseback or wagon ride and making your way through the corn maze. Open daily from 9-5, activities from $3/person, losriosrancho.com.
Straublund Photography / Getty Images
8 of10Straublund Photography / Getty Images
Cottonwood Farm, Boulder, CO
Of course you should pull a little red Radio Flyer wagon out into the pumpkin patch to find the best celebratory squash, but the animals and vintage steam farm equipment are the real draw here. While this isn’t a petting zoo, animal pens line both sides of the farm and many, including Rocco the donkey and Bentley the miniature horse, will come to greet you. Watch the goats climb and jump or relax next to the mellow bunnies and farm kitties. On weekends, a hayride takes you around the farm and shows off the Front Range bursting with fall colors. Hayride $3/person, cottonwoodfarms.com.
Courtesy of Thanksgiving Point
9 of10Courtesy of Thanksgiving Point
Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, UT
Discover what it’s like to be a farmer. Feed the cows, pigs, and goats before checking in on the chickens and chicks in the incubator. Help milk the cow and learn how milk goes from the pail to the grocery store. End the day with a visit to the adorable bunnies and a calm pony ride. Open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., from $7, thanksgivingpoint.org.
Courtesy of Linder Farms
10 of10Courtesy of Linder Farms
Linder Farms, Meridian, ID
Hop on the hayride for a trip out to the patch or try your hand at feeding the animals, including the friendly cows. Kids can climb up the straw bale pyramid before riding the giant slide back down. Rev your engines and race the pedal tractors around the hay-lined track or test your aim at the pumpkin slingshot. Monday through Saturday from Sept. 21 to Halloween, from $4/child, linderfarms.com.