There are so many fun things to do at local farms this time of year: events to attend, and good things to eat! Remember- supporting our local farmers is an important way to support American agriculture. Keep those farms in business so we know that our food is made in the USA!
Fall decorations, yes, even Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, are appearing in stores. Pumpkin Spice coffee is available at the local coffee shop. The signs of fall are here and local farmers are busy harvesting their bounty, and clearing their fields or preparing for winter crops. In my opinion fall is THE time of year to get out and support local agriculture.
4 ways you can support American agriculture this fall
1. Plan a fun family outing that includes a farm run fall themed festival, corn maze, or haunted hay ride.
Farms all across the US are holding harvest or other fall themed festivals this time of year. Most of these festivals include a corn maze or a hay ride, as well as food, music, children's activities and vendors. For older kiddos and adults, try a corn maze at night by flashlight, or a haunted hay ride. Check the website PumpkinPatchesandMore.org to see if there are participating farms in your area.
2. Visit a local farm or orchard and pick your own fruit, vegetables, or nuts.
Don't buy that jack-o-lantern pumpkin at the grocery store!!! Go out into the field and pick the perfect one right off the vine! Kiddos of all ages love picking their own pumpkins. If there are no pumpkin patches in your area, there are plenty of other items ready for harvest this time of year like apples, peaches, and pecans just to name a few.
A great place to start when looking for a pick-your-own farm near you is PickYourOwn.org. For tips on what to do with your bounty, you can check out USA Love List's posts on food preserving with made in the USA supplies and on making your own apple cider from fresh picked apples.
3. Take a fall tour.
Visting B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill in Mystic, CT every fall has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Established in 1881, Clyde's is the oldest steam pressed cider mill in the United States. Even after seeing it for the umpteenth time, it is still exciting to watch apples being pressed to make hard cider. And Clyde's makes THE BEST donuts and apple wines!
No cider mills in your neck of the woods? How about touring a cranberry bog? Late October to early November is cranberry harvest time. Cranberries can be grown in almost every state, and a lot of cranberry farms offer tours.
These are just a few examples of the specialized areas of agriculture available for tours. You could also tour a livestock farm or a vegetable farm and learn about harvesting. Google it!
4. Visit your local farmers' market.
Farmers' markets are a vital part of a community and if you are lucky enough to have one in your town, you need to support it! Farmers are able to provide local produce directly to consumers at the farmers' market.
Many outdoor farmers' markets end their season at the end of October. However, this does not mean the end of all markets! Indoor winter farmers' markets can be found in most areas and they offer fresh vegetables (root vegetables, greenhouse vegetables), meats, and goods made by local artisans. Find a winter market near you by visiting the Local Harvest website.