Not-So-Frightening Farms

Local granges supply family-friendly, hands-on fun to set the mood for fall

click to enlarge Hidden Valley Fruit Farm
Hidden Valley Fruit Farm

Bountiful farms in and around the Cincinnati area offer up less-intense Halloween thrills for the entire family to enjoy. Pick-your-own pumpkin patches, fresh produce and desserts, droves of farm animals and giant corn mazes — acres and acres of them — are only some of the activities that await kids and adults alike at these autumn destinations. Grab a giant caramel apple, listen to live bluegrass music and get your hands dirty as you find the perfect pumpkin.Blooms & Berries Farm MarketBlooms & Berries offers many variations on a family fall adventure. Be sure to experience the farm’s seven-acre corn maze, which challenges you to solve the mystery of a honey theft — you’ll even receive a punch card to keep track of clues. Afterward, take a 30-minute wagon ride through the farm’s “I Spy” woods to a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch or take the kids to a play area with a giant slide. Farm animals and caramel apples also make appearances. $7 Monday-Friday; $10 Saturday-Sunday. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 31. 9669 S. State Route 48, Loveland, FarmsArchery, giant slingshots and more await at this 370-acre working farm. Fall Farm Days also feature a pumpkin patch, pony rides and a corn maze. Make sure to set time aside to explore — look for wildlife ranging from wild turkeys and foxes to white-tailed deer and otters. Noon-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31. Free admission. 3779 State Rt. 132, Clarksville, 937-289-2500, Fruit FarmThis fourth-generation farm has been maintaining a cozy country atmosphere since 1936. Explore a 12-acre corn maze and pick some pumpkins before imbibing apple fritters, cider donuts, caramel apples and more fresh from the bakery. October weekends feature special events and booths ranging from local crafts to mini train rides. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11-6 p.m. Sunday through October; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5:30 p.m. November and December. 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon, 513-932-2853, Valley Fruit FarmLive music, children’s train rides, food and craft vendors and more take over Hidden Valley Fruit Farm in the fall, and this year’s event is bigger than ever. Don’t miss the infamous Thriller Apples — huge, crisp apples dipped in caramel and chocolate, rolled in roasted peanuts and drizzled with even more chocolate. Almost everything available in the store is grown right on the farm, and produce is often picked the same day it is sold. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday; 9 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. 5474 N. State Route 48, Lebanon, 513-932-1869, Joe Huber’s Family Farm and RestaurantThis farm prides itself on its food — and for good reason. Joe Huber’s restaurant serves a limited menu through the month of October that features the Country Platter Dinner: chicken and dumplings, fried biscuits with apple butter, fresh veggies, coleslaw and seasonal salad. Also find farm favorites like a pumpkin patch, animals and live music Friday-Sunday. On Halloween, bring the kids to trick-or-treat. Restaurant open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. 2421 Engle Road, Starlight, Ind., 812-923-5255, FarmsPick pumpkins off the vine at this sixth-generation farm with produce aplenty. In October, find sweet potatoes, apples and apple cider, eggplants, gourds, squash, tomatoes and more. McGlasson also hosts an annual Fall Music Festival, with different acts every weekend; see Jake Speed & The Freddies Oct. 17 and Harold Kennedy and the Three Oct. 24. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 5832 River Road, Hebron, Ky., 859-689-5229. Shaw FarmsFive-hundred tons of pumpkins are picked at this farm every year — make your contribution before October ends. Shaw also offers a 15-are corn maze featuring a kid-friendly treasure hunt, horse-drawn hayrides through the countryside and two interactive playgrounds inhabited by pumpkin-people. Face-painting, pedal karts and more are also available. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. through Oct. 31. Free admission; prices vary for activities. 1737 Ohio 131, Milford, 513-575-2022,

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