With the fall season officially underway, Farmington Valley residents are looking toward a favorite activity in the area and throughout New England — farm visits for fall produce and picking, hayrides, cider and much more.
Some area farms have reported a better harvest this year than in fall 2011, when poor foliage and the intense storms experienced in late summer and late fall disrupted farm operations.
Simsbury’s Flamig Farm (follow the links for location and contact information) had its well-liked and profitable hayride series canceled for Halloween in 2011 due to the severe weather. The Halloween hayrides are one of the farm’s most popular events. And this year, the farm has recruited "Creeps" to help scare up the Halloween spirit.
“We suffered a big loss because of our Halloween hayride,” said Heather Winarski, farm manager.
That loss was exacerbated because the farm offered vouchers for ticket holders from 2011 to take the hayride again this year, and the farm has had to increase the hayride price. But Winarski praised the local community for its acceptance and support of the farm’s situation.
“People have been very understanding,” Winarski said.
Flamig Farm has a wide variety of fall fun on tap this year. Pumpkins, the popular hayrides and homemade goodies like fudge and kettle corn are all available, with fresh kettle corn popped on site for the hayrides.
Other farms are a little short on fall crops due to other reasons this year. Avon’s Smith Farm experienced a spring frost that eliminated any pick-your-own offerings for this year, but some apples and many other fruits and vegetables — including hot and regular peppers, tomatoes, corn and eggplant, as well as homemade jams and jellies — are available.
For Smith Farm, the bad weather last year didn’t have much of an impact on the harvest.
“Last year, in the fall, we did tremendously,” said Lucienne Witkowski, who operates the farm.
Witkowski said many farms in the area no longer have corn and tomatoes, so Smith Farms is a good place to visit to get your vegetable fix. Squash, onions, rhubarb and potatoes are also available or soon will be. The farm also has first-cut and second-cut hay available.
In Granby, Bushy Hill Orchard has already finished its pick-your-own season for apples, but offers pumpkin picking beginning this weekend and apples in the farm store.
Granby’s Lost Acres Orchard was a favorite among The Granby Patch users responding to a question posted on Facebook asking for their favorite places for fall farm fun. They didn’t have a booming harvest this year, according to manager Sue Wutka Accetura, but are still offering pick-your-own apples.
The orchard also has a farm store offering hot apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, whoopee pies and ginger snaps, along with a large variety of other offerings.
Check out the suggestions below, shared with us by Patch users from across the Farmington Valley:
Kristina Gilton, The Granbys Patch: “Lost Acres, they are the best! The smells coming out of their kitchen are to die for. And the family who runs it is wonderful!”
Jody Pflederer Angell, West Hartford Patch: “We are heading to Scott's [Orchard and Nursery] in Glastonbury today.”
Tracy Gregory Bonini (and many others), Farmington Patch: “Karabin Farms in Southington!”