New York has always been a land of farms, and farm hospitality is on full display during harvest season. Farmsteads all across the state open their gates in autumn for tours and celebrations, fresh-from-the-field foods and family exploring. Kids can learn about farm life, meet some livestock up close and personal, and bring home some tasty bounty. Hay rides, petting pens and fruit picking keep all hands busy.
If you can't make it to the farm, farmers will bring their harvest to you at hundreds of farmers' markets and greenmarkets that are popping up all across the state. They feature the freshest local foods and many are open year round.
Tours are becoming more popular and many farms are proud to show off their operations. The Thurman Fall Farm Tour can't wait to host your family for walks and talks, crafts and music, and chats with llamas, horses and goats. Hanford Mills features an authentic water-powered sawmill and gristmill and vintage woodworking machines, plus fresh and preserved local produce. Pick your favorite pumpkin right off the vine at Harbes Family Farm, weekends in September, then tackle a singing hayride, pony ride or corn maze.
At Long Island's Old Bethpage Village, a living 19th century colonial village lets you watch a blacksmith at work or sample a candlelit Thanksgiving dinner. Queens County Farm Museum offers 47 acres of pure farm nostalgia smack in the middle of the city with historic farm buildings and animals, orchards and vineyards, farm vehicles and hayrides.
Explore 777 acres at Westchester's Muscoot Farm through livestock barns, historic buildings, a farm museum and vegetable gardens. Or view Homespun Era exhibits at Cooperstown's Farmers' Museum, a living 19th-century farm village populated with costumed interpreters going about their daily lives.
Play colonial-era games like hoop-rolling and stilt-walking at Rochester's Genesee Country Village & Museum as you peek through dozens of faithfully restored buildings and livestock pens, listen to the clang of the blacksmith's hammer, and smell the aroma of fresh-baked pies as you watch potters, coopers and tinsmiths at work.
Up in Thousand Islands country, Old McDonald's Farm Village in Sackett's Harbor beckons families to a 1,200-acre working dairy and crop farm where kids can hand-feed livestock, frolic with goats or take a pony ride while they learn about the region's rich agricultural heritage.
Food never tasted fresher than this. A grocery trip to your local farmers' market, farm stand or greenmarket can spoil you. As more greenmarkets remain open all year, many shoppers are changing their grocery buying habits for healthier and tastier choices. As you drive along western New York's Amish Trail, don't forget to stop for farm-fresh produce and handmade crafts with old world charm.
Fall is big business at the Schenectady Greenmarket, a year-round marketplace featuring local produce and foods from scores of vendors. Right through fall, the Kingston Farmers' Market is typical of the local farm markets springing up across the state with organic fruits, farm-raised meats, jams and honeys, cheeses and maple products. The Woodstock Farm Festival serves up fresh local produce and outdoor dining with a dash of peace, love and music.
At cities from Buffalo to Lake Placid to Rhinebeck, farm markets burst with Hudson Valley apples, Finger Lakes grapes and Adirondack berries. New York City's Greenmarket has grown to 54 citywide locations with over 230 participating family farms and providers of veggies and grains, spices and spirits, hearth-baked breads, cheeses, sauces and jams.
The city's Let Us Eat Local event in September sets the table at dozens of restaurants, breweries and wineries, while October's Long Island Fall Festival at Heckscher Park decks out hundreds of craft booths, a carnival, four stages of entertainment, a beer and wine tent, and farmers' market.
The advantage of fresher food is clear: it tastes better. But your local farmers' market is much more; it's a shopping trip where farmer meets consumer face to face, tips are offered, recipes shared, and you can still catch up on the gossip.
Farmers' Museum, Cooperstown
Genesee Country Village & Museum, Rochester
Hanford Mills Museum
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
Old McDonald's Farm Village
Queens County Farm Museum
Thurman Fall Farm Tour
Beacon Farmers' Market
Clayton Farmers' Market
Cooperstown Farmers' Market
Coxsackie Farmers Market
Critz Farms Fall Harvest Festival
Eagle Mills Cider Mill
Elmwood Bidwell Market
Farmers' Market Federation of NY
Glens Falls Farmers' Market
Grow NYC Greenmarkets
Kingston Farmers' Market
The Lembke Farm
New York Apple Country
New York City Greenmarkets
New York State Farmers' Markets
Rhinebeck Farmers' Market
Rochester Farmers' Market
Sullivan County Farmers' Markets
Woodstock Farm Festival