The smell of cinnamon wafting from fresh-baked pies. The satisfying crunch of fallen leaves and scattered hay. Colorful bunches of mums and expansive fields that seem to go on forever. These are the delights of fall on a farm, full of nostalgia and simplicity. In Rhode Island, we’re lucky enough to live minutes from farmland, and in October, we’re able to indulge in perennial activities like pumpkin picking, drinking hot apple cider, and buying fruit pies and sunset-colored blooms. Here’s a sampling of locations offering these quintessential New England charms.
Sarah Partyka has loved gardening and farming from the time she was a child. Descended from a long line of green thumbs, she says that caring for plants is “in her blood.” At her natural, lush wonderland, The Farmer’s Daughter, her ancestral passion certainly shines through. The farm is a mecca for gardeners searching for inspiration. Walk through the various greenhouses and gardening huts where you’ll find an abundance of seasonal flowers, shrubs, gourds, and vegetables. Take a pumpkin centerpiece class where you decorate one using cut flowers from the farm’s garden, try your hand at designing a pumpkin display with succulents. The farmstead also has Harvest Festivals planned for weekends through October with hayrides, antique tractors, pumpkin slingshots, pumpkin checkers, pumpkin bowling, and more! South Kingstown
At Highland Farm you’ll find homemade pies with just about every kind of filling. Try their original slatted apple pie, or indulge in a decadent banana cream creation. The bakery even takes special orders for Thanksgiving, and customers can pick up a fresh-baked pie the day before the turkey is carved. If you’re early enough, you can also get Allie’s Donuts at the farmstand before they sell out (and they do indeed sell out). Whilst perusing, pick up some apples, harvested produce, and of course, pumpkins! Wakefield
Escape to Clark Farms, where activities reach beyond the ordinary and into the adventurous. Wander through two miles of corn maze searching for clues to find what they refer to as “the lost city.” Then take a trip to the “mining mountain” where kids can look for their own hidden treasures and take a turn or two on the mine mountain slide. Vast corn puzzles and swashbuckling endeavors aside, Clark Farms is known for their delectable mini donuts, so be sure to pick up a dozen (or two)! Matunuck
Spring Hill Sugar House offers apple cider demonstrations on weekends to its visitors. The cider purveyors also have a corn maze cut in the shape of a maple leaf, a symbol of their most popular item, maple syrup. After you’ve braved the depths of the maze, stroll through the five-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch to grab a gourd straight off the vine. Exeter
Known for their impeccable customer service and “stress-free” environment, Harvest Acres Farm is well worth a visit. The nonprofit farm was established when owners John and Cindy Duncan lost their daughter Cassie to suicide in 2005. Their employees are part of a free mental health rehabilitative program, and all proceeds go back into helping their employees. On October 13, Cindy says the farmstead will host a day of fall fun dubbed “Harvest Acres Country Fun Fest.” Expect pumpkin painting, donut decorating, a small petting zoo, a selfie station with sunflower and pumpkin cutouts, cornhole, checkers (played with miniature pumpkins!), and more. Harvest Acres will also unveil their new addition: a community gazebo. Richmond
Dubbed by frequent visitors as “the best corn in the area,” Carpenter’s Farm is the place if you want to buy sweet corn and tomatoes. The stand also offers seasonal fruits and vegetables like beets, cabbage, winter squash, and more. If you go into their bake shop, just try and resist buying one of their strawberry-rhubarb pies. Wakefield