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.
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. 742-5575.
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 27-October 26, 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. 71 Mooresfield Road, South Kingstown. 792- 1340.
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. 789- 8752.
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. Every Columbus Day weekend, the farm hosts the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Grower's Annual Weigh-off, happening this year on October 11. 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. 43 Kinnicutt Avenue, Warren. 245-8245.
Since 1964, Pippin Orchard has not only produced crisp, fresh apples, but has also educated the Rhode Island community on how our food is truly harvested
and produced. For a special seasonal treat for the eyes, head over to Pippin on September 20 and 21 as well as October 11, 12 and 13 (Columbus Day weekend) to see Michael Higgins, chainsaw carver, create unbelievably intricate wood sculptures with - you guessed it - his chainsaw. Pick-your-own apples is a true rite of fall for the whole family, and it starts in September. This year, it is accompanied by another sweet seasonal staple: Poppy's Kettle Corn will be at Pippin every weekend during pick-your-own. 751 Pippin Orchard Rd, Cranston. 943-70.
By day, Wakefield's Highland Farm is a pleasant, unassuming place. The nursery and farmstand sells fall plants and vegetables, as well as garden décor and landscaping products. Highland's bakery serves up a huge selection of sugar-free (agave sweetened) pies, as well as muffins, pastries and tea breads. It's a lovely place to be while the sun is out. At night, well, you're going to have to run for your life. The Halloween season marks the reopening of Trails to Terror. What they do with all of the zombies and voodoo priests the rest of the year, well, you probably don't want to think about that. 4235 Tower Hill Rd, Wakefield. 792-8188.
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 veg- gie 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. 322-0027
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