Studded with forests and fields that fuel the local farm-to-table movement, Westchester County was made for fall. And there’s no better way to get into the autumn spirit than a journey along the Westchester Farm Trail, a 17-mile string of orchards and farms with activities for the whole family.
Follow the Westchester Farm Trail and discover these seven fun-filled fall activities.
If you enjoy the pick-your-own experience, you’ll find U-pick hotspots all along Westchester’s designated farm trail.
Head to Granite Springs to choose from 20 varieties of apples at Stuart’s Farm, the oldest orchard in the county. Or go apple picking at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem, where’s you’ll also find a bounty of seasonal produce, grass-fed beef and free-range quail and chicken eggs.
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center in Yorktown Heights is bursting with all kinds of U-pick fruit, veggies and flowers depending on the growing season. About 15 minutes up the road, you don’t want to miss the Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm pumpkin patch. Pumpkin picking, sweet cider, baked good and gourds are the main draw at Wilkens before it transforms into a magical Christmas tree farm.
Maple Syrup Tasting
Head to the historic White Oak Farm to look at maple syrup production dating back to the 1800s. Take a walk around the sugarhouse, farm gardens and the property’s still-operating sawmill. Fall lovers will enjoy filling their shopping baskets with maple syrup, honey and even local wood products. This Yorktown Heights farm is the epitome of autumn spirit.
Move over, pumpkin spice. Return to farm fresh basics this October with sweet and hard ciders at Thompson’s Cider Mill. Every autumn weekend, this property next to Teatown Lake Reservation Nature Preserve attracts a small cider-sipping crowd. Taste a couple of the mill’s varieties before settling on your favorite. Aside from cider, you can also pick up the local pies, pears, apples and the mill’s own maple syrup.
Is there anything that screams fall like a tractor-pulled journey atop a bed of hay bales? At Stuart’s Farm, weekend hayrides take place until Halloween. It’s the perfect family-friendly activity to enjoy before heading deeper into the orchard for apple picking or pumpkin picking.
Be sure to save time for another hayride at Muscoot Farm in Katonah. This early 20th-century property comes alive daily with kid-friendly fall festivities such as maple syrup demonstrations, farm animal petting and even opportunities for the little ones to try their hand at a farm chore or two.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn about Westchester County’s agricultural heritage this fall. The family can enjoy hands-on farming lessons (beehives, anyone?) at Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center and field tours at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown.
Stone Barns requires ticketed admission, so always check the website before visiting this massive estate that the Rockefeller family once owned.
Farms Stands and Markets
Nothing inspires a good meal better than meandering through freshly harvested produce and other seasonal treasures on a cool day.
A trip to Yorktown Heights and The Meadows Farm in October will satisfy any craving for fresh, bright pumpkins and gourds. Likewise, Fable Market in Ossining brims with fruits, vegetables, eggs and other offerings direct from its farm, as well as other local farms and businesses.
Hemlock Hill Farm’s Farmhouse Kitchen purveys an abundance of jams, jellies, maple syrup, cider and other farm-fresh products from its 120-acre historic working farm in Cortlandt Manor.
And for a quick pitstop, Ryder Farm Cottage Industries is a classic organic roadside farm stand in Brewster with plenty of produce to bring back to your kitchen.
More Farm Fresh Products
Unlike most stops on the official farm trail, Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish is a full-fledged restaurant. Tuck into a satisfying plate of mouthwatering produce and fresh-caught fish from the eatery’s supplier, Down East Seafood in the Bronx. Craving lighter fare? There are always delectable baked goods and coffee at The Farm Shop on the property.
Fulfill all your fall wishes as you make your way through the 13 stops along the Westchester Farm Trail.
Featured images: Muscoot Farm