In today’s fast-paced world, we often miss out on the opportunity to get our hands in the earth and walk through the field or orchard where our food grows. This fall, plan a family (or friend) day trip to one of the Tristate’s various pick-your-own fruit and veggie farms, and hand-select your own produce. From apples and pumpkins to peppers and kale, these fields are growing hearty fall favorites. (Make sure to call ahead to see if the farms have a sufficient supply for pick-your-own because demand is usually high).
Blooms & Berries Farm Market
Fall on the farm means caramel apples, a 7-acre corn maze, fresh-pressed apple cider, pumpkin paintball, petable farm animals and more family-friendly activities. For those who want to pick their own pumpkins, Blooms & Berries offers a 30-minute hayride to their pumpkin patch; along the way, play I Spy through the woods. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Through Oct. 31. $7 weekdays; $10 weekends. 9669 S. State Route 48, Loveland, 513-697-9173, bloomsandberriesfarmmarket.com.
Iron Fruit Farms
For all the pumpkin lovers out there, Iron Fruit Farms has you covered. During weekends in October, you can take a wagon ride to their pumpkin patch to pick your own. While you’re there, get lost in the 12-acre “military honor” themed corn maze ($5-$7) or stop by the farm bakery to treat your sweet tooth to some fresh-baked goods, including apple fritters, cinnamon cider donuts and cookies. You-pick apples aren’t available this year because of weather, but there are still farm-fresh apples in the farm market. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Through October. Wagon rides are free, but your pumpkin is priced by the pound. 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon, 513-932-2853, ironsfruitfarm.com.
Hidden Valley Fruit Farm
Looking for a chance to pick your own farm fresh apples? Hidden Valley Fruit Farm harvests 39 different varieties from July to mid-November, giving you a wide range to explore (based on availability). Veggie lovers, don’t feel left out. The 70-acre farm also has pick-your-own kale, so you can stock up on the fresh superfood before facing colder weather. For Fall Family Fun Days, the farm hosts hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a corn maze and a country store featuring seasonal homemade pies, freshly pressed apple cider, a variety of organic produce and their Thriller or Buckeye caramel apples. The Thriller averages 24 ounces and is dipped in caramel, dunked in chocolate, rolled in nuts and drizzled in more chocolates. The Buckeye is dipped in caramel and then dunked in peanut butter-chocolate. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. Through October. $8 corn maze; apples, pumpkins and kale are pay-by-the-pound. 5474 N. State Route 48, Lebanon, 513-932-1869, hiddenvalleyfruitfarm.com.
For a more savory pick-your-own adventure, head over to McGlasson Farms, family owned and operated for six generations. The McGlasson fields grow organic peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, turnips and pumpkins, simply waiting for your harvesting hands. They also sell a variety of pre-picked fruits and vegetables and freshly pressed apple cider at their farm stand. If festivals and music are more up your alley than fruit, then check our their 2014 Fall Festival through Oct. 26, featuring live Country and Folk performances each weekend. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free; produce costs. 5832 River Road, Hebron, Ky., 859-689-5229, mcglassonfarms.com.
Shaw Farms has been owned and operated by Garold “Jerry” Shaw since 1948. Today the 1,800-acre family owned and operated farm grows corn, soybeans, summer vegetables, pumpkins, gourds and squash. Their Fall Festival features tractor hayrides, a 12-acre corn maze, weekend horse-drawn wagons and more kid-friendly fun. Grab orchard-fresh apples, cider or any variety of squash from the farm market. Or head out to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Through October. Free; different activities cost different amounts. 1737 Ohio 131, Milford, 513-575-2022, shawfarms.com.