Sure, picking your own fruits and vegetables can be fun, but after a little while, it also feels like work. Kick back and have a little fun at these farms – your back (and your kids) will thank you.
Good Old Fashioned Fun
Take a step back in time at Festival Farm in Hope Valley, which promises family fun “like it used to be.” Kids can take a pony ride or a hay ride pulled by an antique tractor. After, the petting zoo lets you get up close and personal with alpacas, sheep, pygmy goats, an emu and pheasants. The Yankee Pantry offers jams and jellies, as well as baking mixes and fall décor items. Sip a hot cider while you pick out your fall pumpkins and gourds.
2 Canonchet Road, Hope Valley. 401-742-5575, www.festivalfarmri.com
All Fun and Games
The Farmer’s Daughter in Kingston is a farm stand and garden center, but that’s not exactly going to get the kids excited. Try their Harvest Festival, which happens every weekend from September 26-October 25, and offers tons of fun activities: scavenger hunts, pony rides, pumpkin slingshots and bowling, a corn maze, a barrel train ride and antique tractors, scarecrow making, costume contests and furry friends. Who says life on the farm is hard work? It sounds like all fun and games.
716 Mooresfield Road, South Kingstown. 401-792-1340, www.thefarmersdaughterri.com
John and Cindy’s Harvest Acres is a full scale nursery that sells a lot more than just plants. In the fall, harvest vegetables are available, like pumpkins (painted as well as plain, depending on whether you’re eating them or decorating with them), gourds and winter squash varietals. In addition, John and Cindy’s has a shop filled with delicious edibles like maple syrup and honey.
425 Kingstown Road, West Kingston. 401-789-8752, www.johnandcindys.wix.com/johnandcindys
It's the Great Pumpkin Farm, Charlie Brown
It must be something in the water… or maybe it’s the Great Pumpkin. Frerichs Farm in Warren is widely known for its enormous pumpkins. So widely known, in fact, that Frerichs’ giant gourds have made the national news. Their Pumpkin Palooza, weekends September 12-October 31, has pumpkin painting, pumpkin carriage rides, a play-scale Western town, make-your-own scarecrows and a Charlie Brown pumpkin patch. Every Columbus Day weekend, the farm hosts the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Grower’s Annual Weigh-off, happening this year on October 10. The event attracts more than 3,500 attendees to witness the weighing of the gigantic pumpkins, which can weigh in at over 1,000 pounds. Frerichs is also hosting a Good Old Days party on September 19, which is a day of good old fashioned music, games and barbecue, with proceeds going to the Autism Project’s East Bay Support Center.
43 Kinnicutt Avenue, Warren. 401-245-8245, www.frerichsfarm.com
Farming: A Sport and a Pastime
Once you get to Manfredi Farms in Dunns Corner in Westerly, you might not want to leave. The expansive gardens are gorgeous, the farm stand is lush with seasonal bounty, the baked goods are fresh from the oven. There are animals to pet, to maybe slip a veggie to (after you’ve picked your own green vegetables, cut flowers and pumpkins). But what’s going to keep you there? Farmer’s golf. That’s right. A modified ten-hole golf game, played with wooden clubs and larger balls, on farmland itself – meaning that all of the obstacles and hazards, like tall grass, plants, maybe a cow or two – are part of the game.
77 Dunns Corner Road, Westerly. 401-322-0027, www.manfredifarms.com
A Smashing Good Time
You can pick your own pumpkins at Cranston’s Confreda Farm, but plan to make a day of it. Weekends starting September 19 and running through November 2, the fun doesn’t end at Confreda’s Fall Fest. Think hayrides, kiddie rides, farm activities and a corn MAiZE the size of seven (you heard us – seven) football fields. There’s a food court offering fall and Halloween treats, and a Pumpkin Smash on November 1. When the sun goes down, their haunted Scary Acres aren’t for the faint of heart.
2150 Scituate Avenue, Hope. 401-827-5000, www.confredasfallfest.com
While the peaches, blueberries and vegetables at Dame Farm are definitely worth a taste, there’s a lot to savor at the Johnston farm. Before you shop at their farm stand, take a wagon ride, or delve into the A-Maize-ing corn maze. It takes an hour to solve the four-acre maze, with stations hidden inside that add to the challenge. Weekends in the fall, there’s also a food truck serving up delicious treats like chowder and fried Oreos.
91-B Brown Avenue, Johnston. 401-949-3657, www.damefarmandorchards.com
Anyone can solve a corn maze during the day. Salisbury Farm challenges your wits and your sense of direction with their Moonlight Maze on October 4, 11, 18, 25 and 31. If that’s a little too spooky for you, the corn maze is open during the day through November 2, along with a farm stand selling vegetables, pumpkins and fall decorations.
11 Peck Hill Road, Johnston. 401-942-9741, www.salisburyfarm.com
Celebrate The Season
Get a taste of the fall at Steere Orchard’s Apple Fest: A Fall Harvest Celebration. On October 12 and 13, the party will feature live music by the Applehead String Band, free samples of baked goods and apples, and pies and apple and pumpkin products for purchase. A farmer’s market and free hay rides, along with the pick-your-own apples that the orchard regularly offers, round out the festivities.
150 Austin Avenue, Greenville. 401-949-1456, www.steereorchard.com
Coggeshall Farm, a living history museum in Bristol, brings to life the ways of Colonial living in 18th century New England. They have farm animals, cooking and farming demonstrations, and produce from their heirloom garden for sale in season. Their 42nd annual Harvest Fair is happening this year from September 19-20, and features hay and pony rides, old fashioned games, music and dancing. Grammy winner Bill Harley will be performing, along with the unforgettable Ladies of the Rolling Pin.
1 Colt Drive, Bristol. 401-253-9062, www.coggeshallfarm.org