Fair Oaks Farms offers fun things to do and activities for the whole family all year-round. But autumn is a special season here, with harvest adventures added to the everyday lineup that teaches visitors about farming and sustainability.
Autumn is apple time, and one of the most satisfying things to do is to pick a basketful for yourself in the 40-acre orchard. With 10 varieties ripening between mid-August and October 29, you can choose your favorites from a selection that includes Zestar, Gala, Honeycrisp, Pixie Crunch, Summerset, Crimson Crisp, Jonagold, Cameo, Evercrisp and Gold Rush. The trees are sized so that no one will need a ladder and even the youngest members of your family can join in.
Seasonal vegetables are also part of the you-pick program, and so are sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias. In the seemingly never-ending flower field you’ll find 75,000 blooms waiting to be picked. Or just enjoy a peaceful wander through the rows and take photographs — also a fun thing to do.
If you come to the farm on weekends, you can hitch a wagon ride to the orchard, which adds another exciting layer to the apple-picking activity. You’re also welcome to walk, of course, or rent a golf cart if anyone in your group needs a lift.
Save plenty of time for shopping in the market, an activity all in itself. If you didn’t pick your own flowers, you can choose an arrangement here, or browse the selection of seasonal home goods, fall décor, apparel and snacks. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh apple cider, kettle corn, cinnamon-apple doughnuts, apple fritters, caramel apples, apple crisp mini cheesecakes, sugar cookies and pink lemonade slushies. Farm-produced merchandise for you to take home includes locally sourced apple and pumpkin butters, jams, jellies, salad dressings and honey along with local cheeses that will pair nicely with the apples you picked.
The you-pick pumpkin patch opens Sept. 16 with lots of activities on tap. Choose your own traditional plump orange beauty or a novelty pumpkin of a different shape and color to take home and carve. While you’re here, be sure to select gourds to use when you decorate for the fall holidays.
More family fun can be had on Oct. 1, when the farm will be celebrating Oktoberfest in the orchard with activities and games for every age group. The Fair Oaks Farms Food Truck will serve German-themed food and beer from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
Plan to come on Oct. 8 for the Pumpkin Fest featuring Giant Pumpkin Contest. The Indiana Pumpkin Growers Association will be on hand to weighing and judging the biggest and best pumpkins and vegetables throughout the state the state has to offer. Stay on to take part in the pumpkin-carving contest and other family games and activities planned for the day.
On Saturdays and Sundays during the season the Orchard Family Pub offers a game zone, soybean maze and fun activities for all ages. This is also where you’ll find a variety of refreshments such as assorted beers, wines and seasonal cocktails. For sure try the apple sangria made with Fair Oaks Farms’ red delicious apples. As temperatures drop, warm spiked apple cider will be on the menu, too.
On Oct. 29 the Nature Trail will close for one day only and become a Halloween Trick or Treat Trail. Visitors are invited to dress up in their scariest finery and follow the trail for treats being handed out by costumed characters. The reward for finishing the trail is a free hot chocolate to sip during Fair Oaks Farm’s annual that evening’s Forest of Lights event starting November 18 through January 2.
Visit fofarms.com for more information.