When we were young, our parents took us apple picking. It was a fall tradition that we really looked forward to as the leaves started changing colours. We’d pluck ripe apples from the branches, rubbed them on our jeans to clean them off and then took the biggest bites out of the the crispy fruit. With the apple juices flowing, I remember thinking that this was life. That sweet first crunch was something we really looked forward to as we climbed the tree ladders and picked a bushel to take home.
Back then, there were no pony rides or petting farms. It was all about the apples and the fresh air.
While you can still visit the traditional apple orchards, there are a few that have made their farms into destinations for families. Some now have expanded to include pumpkins patches, mazes, arts & crafts, petting zoos, and birthday party venues turning them into “entertainment farms”. Several farms around the GTA are now designed to encourage families to get out of the city and explore while supporting our local farmers.
Here are some of the apple orchards & pumpkin patches around the GTA to visit this fall season. Check the farm sites for complete details including admission prices and daily activities.
CHUDLEIGH’S FARMS: 9528 Hwy 25, Milton, Ontario This pick-your-own apple farm has become an annual tradition for generations. With play areas with a hay bale jump, adorable farm animals, apple picking, nature trails, and delicious baked goods (if you haven’t had their Apple Blossoms, you haven’t lived). Chudleigh’s is pretty much a guaranteed hit for everyone. BTW, they also do birthday parties! Not only can you pick apples to take home at the party, a Chudleigh’s staff member will be on hand to help guide guests to a private tractor ride through the orchard, a visit to feed the farm animals and to a delicious farm fresh lunch amongst the apple trees. www.chudleighs.com
ANDREW’S SCENIC ACRES: 9365 10 Side Road, Milton, Ontario. Take a wagon ride out to the field to pick-your-own apple, pumpkins and flowers! There’s also an animal corral, playground and bake shop. Birthday parties also can be booked at Andrew’s. Got a tot? You may be interested in Toddler Tuesdays. www.andrewsscenicacres.com
PINGLE’S FARM: 1805 Taunton Rd, Hampton, Ontario. For 31 years, Pingle’s has offered families an educational and refreshing outing. Fun way to teach kids local farmers and the benefits of eating local produce. This farm is filled with fun activities including 8-acre corn maze, reptile zoo, giant games, bunnyville, mini-golf and more. Currently available to pick-your-own are MacIntosh apples. Other varieties available at the farm’s market onsite. www.pinglesfarmmarket.com
FORSYTHE FAMILY FARMS: 1025 Cragg Road, Uxbridge, Ontario. Pick your own pumpkins. Enjoy the Barnyard Adventure playground with lots of room for the kids to run. Slide down Billy Goat Mountain. Wander through the 2-acre corn maze. Join in the scavenger hunt. Hitch a ride on the wagon through Fairy Tale Lane. Grab some homemade goodies from the Farm’s market. Birthday parties available. www.forsythefamilyfarms.com
DOWNEY’S FARM: 13682 Heart Lake Road, Caledon, Ontario. Pumpkinfest is officially on until the end of October! Visit to pick-your-own from the pumpkin patch. Check out the Boo Barn, puppet shows, duck races, pedal cart track. Visit the farm animals, take a pony ride and explore the 8-acre corn maze. Weekend live entertainment include magicians and dog shows. Build your own Scarecrow and more. www.downeysfarm.com