As the calendar and the seasons change, so does the nature of our harvest, and by proxy, our recreation. With our roots and heritage so closely tied to the land of Western New York, it should come as no surprise that many people gravitate toward agriculturally themed events as the leaves change. There is no shortage of corn-, apple-, and pumpkin-related fun to be had in our region during the fall. Below is a sampling of what some farms (and other organizations) in Monroe, Orleans, and Wayne counties have to offer this autumn.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but more representative of our options. For more detailed information, please call each organization or consult their website. And check CITY Newspaper's online calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com.
Long Acre Farms created and opened the region's first Amazing Maize Maze in 1998. The maze occupies five acres and incorporates "music, interactive entertainment, and a very energetic staff." The theme of this year's maze commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. The maze is open weekends from September 6 to November 2, with entrance between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Long Acre Farms also offers a mini corn maze, The Farm Scene Animal Tracks, for children age 2 to 8 called. Additionally, Long Acre Farms has a number of other family-friendly activities at its Back 40, and operates a farm market and ice cream shop. (1342 Eddy Road, Macedon. 315-986-4202; longacrefarms.com)
Hurd Orchards, one of the more aesthetically pleasing and rustic farm markets in the area, offers different seasonally-themed luncheons every Wednesday and Thursday in September and October. The farm grows 49 varieties of apples, and picking is available through September and October. You may also pick your own red raspberries through early October, as well as pumpkins throughout October. In addition to seasonal produce, the Hurd Orchards farm store sells homemade harvest jams, pickles, applesauces, and jarred fruits. Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays till 7 p.m. (17260 Ridge Road, Holley. 585-638-8838; hurdorchards.com),
Brown's Berry Patch not only offers pick-your-own apples (in September and October), pumpkins (October), raspberries and blueberries (through early October), but also features the relatively rare and aromatic quince (in October), which is a close botanical relative to apples and pears. Ancient Greeks associated the quince with fertility; modern nutritionists know that quinces are high in fiber and Vitamin C. Brown's also provides family fun through its Barnyard Adventure, in which "kids of all ages giggle and gaze with wonder at the crazy goats up on the roof whom they feed using the can on a pulley." You may also "enjoy a whisk down [a] giant slide, swings, a sandbox, playhouse, stand-up teeter totter, water tables, straw bin, rope maze, duck races, and pedal cars." The Barnyard Adventure is open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Picking hours are daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (14264 Roosevelt Highway, Waterport. 585-682-5569; brownsberrypatch.com)
Gro-Moore Farms in Henrietta puts on its Pumpkin Hollow every fall, this year from September 20 to October 26. Pumpkin Hollow is open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and until 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There are free mazes, fun houses, and haunted houses, and a pumpkin slide every day for kids up to third grade. Pumpkin Hollow will also host special weekend activities for a $10 flat fee per child (parents are free) — weekend festivities include pumpkin painting, racing pigs, John Deere express train rides, tractor-drawn wagon rides, duck races, and a (fake) tattoo parlor. In addition to pumpkins, Gro-Moore also offers traditional fall fare like homemade candy and caramel apples, fresh-baked pies, fried cakes, cider, and apples. (2811 East Henrietta Road. 585-359-3310; gromoore.com)
Morgan's Farm Market has over 20 varieties of apples for the pickin' during October. Pumpkins are also available on a pick-your-own basis in October. Additionally, on Saturday, October 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Morgan's puts on its 10th annual Family Fun Day, which includes tractor-pulled wagon rides to the orchard, visiting with alpacas, maple cotton-candy making, and pony rides. (3821 Cory Corners Road, Marion. 315-926-0910; morgansfarmmarket.com)
Wickham Farms has a three-acre corn maze, which can usually be completed in 30 to 45 minutes, making it highly suitable for younger children. Within the corn maze, Wickham Farms has a Cornfield of Dreams, containing six batting cages with baseball and softball variable-speed pitching machines. Hay rides around the pumpkin fields run on weekends in October, and you can pick your own pumpkins throughout the month. Fried cakes and cider are also made on the premises. Wicham Farms is open daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (1821 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, Penfield; 585-377-3276; wickhamfarms.com)
During the fall, Powers Farm Market in Pittsford offers freshly pressed apple cider, homemade candy apples, corn shocks, pumpkins, daily hay rides, and "the world's largest teepees." Powers is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. (161 Marsh Road. 585-586-4631; powersfarmandmarket.com)
The Apple Farm grows 11 different kinds of apples to pick through the end of October, and presses its own cider and offers fresh-baked cider donuts, pies, tarts, and turnovers. The Apple Farm recently invested in a wind turbine to generate energy for its needs and to diminish its carbon footprint. The farm also maintains one of the most challenging disc golf courses in the area. Normally a pay-for-play course, there are free passes for varying lengths of time, depending on volume of purchases. Check out The Apple Farm's website for more details. The Apple Farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (1640 NY Route 444, Victor; 585-924-3420; thevictorapplefarm.com)
Scottsville's Stokoe Farms has farm-grown squash, fancy gourds, Indian Corn, corn shocks, and bales of straw for decorating. While there, you can take a hay ride pulled by an antique tractor out to the pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins and to the corn maze to navigate your way through various stations. Stokoe Farms also has five zip lines, a four-lane slide, a pedal-car race track, a straw fort, singing chickens, a talking fox, a pumpkin launcher, nature trails, and many chances to feed real pigs, calves, goats, sheep, rabbits, and alpacas. Open Saturdays and Sundays, September 13 to October 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Columbus Day (October 13), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (656 South Road, Scottsville. 585-889-0770; stokoefarms.com)
The Genesee Country Village and Museum hosts an Agricultural Fair every autumn, this year taking place on Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair includes "more than 150 categories of judged baked goods, preserves, hand-made needlecrafts and the industrial arts — including tin, iron and wooden wares; pottery; cooperage (barrel making); printing; and broom and soap making." There's a largest-pumpkin competition, unfamiliar 19th-century vegetables, prize-winning sheep, oxen, and cows, a market tent with vendors selling products grown or made in Western New York, a 19th-century magic show, a Punch & Judy puppet show, and the consolation and championship games for this year's museum vintage base ball teams who play by 1866 rules at Silver Base Ball Park, the nation's first replica 1800's base ball park. (1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford. 585-538-6822; gcv.org)
The Wayne County Apple-Tasting Tour (appletastingtour.com) is not a singular event, but rather an opportunity to explore the scenic country roads of Wayne County and experience the diversity of 15 unique apple farms and their respective bounties at your own pace throughout the month of October. The tour's Tasting Weekend takes place October 10 through October 13, and includes apple tastings, food samples, door prizes, and unique events. You can view and download this year's brochure, which includes a map, descriptions of each participating venue, an apple-tasting tour passport, and criteria for taste-testing each farm's apples, through creatinghealthyplaceswayne.org.
No discussion of apples in Western New York would be inclusive without mention of the Hilton Apple Fest, an annual event that draws throngs to the northwest corner of Monroe County. This year's Apple Fest takes place Saturday, October 4, (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, October 5, (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). The Apple Fest offers free family entertainment while celebrating the rich heritage of Hilton's apple-growing history, as well as the harvest of present-day growers. The fest includes an auto show, a photo contest, an apple pie contest, artists selling handcrafted goods, music and dance performances, and of course, apple-themed foods. (59 Henry Street, Hilton. hiltonapplefest.org)
Celebrating Western New York's autumn dynamic duo of apples and pumpkins is the AppleUmpkin Festival in the historic gaslight village of Wyoming. This is a harvest festival dedicated to the region's bountiful apple orchards and pumpkin patches, which includes arts and crafts, music and dance performances, food. Watch for the AppleUmpkin Bake-off, which includes categories for apples, pumpkins, and combined apple-pumpkin creations. This year's AppleUmpkin Festival takes place Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (appleumpkin.com)