Cooler temperatures in September can only mean one thing: the opening of pumpkin patches and apple orchards across the country. Plucking apples from trees and yanking pumpkins out of the dirt are as integral to the autumn paradigm as sipping mulled cider in front of a roaring fire.
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This year, though, things are certainly going to be a little different. Many farms aren’t even opening for the 2020 season, and those that are will be operating at reduced capacity. But even during these unprecedented times, we can look to orchards and farms as a place to celebrate fall. In light of these changes, we’ve rounded up a handful of farms that have put safety measures in place to not only protect customers, but the staff as well. All of the farms listed here require face coverings, social distancing procedures, and reduced capacity during weekend hours or other high traffic times.
Twin Star Orchards (New York)
Located in New Paltz, New York, a town in the Hudson Valley just 90 minutes from New York City, Twin Star Orchards is open for apple picking through November. Here, sustainably farmed apples are at the forefront, with favorites like McIntosh, Cortland, and Jonagold primed for picking throughout 200 acres of farmland. All guests must wear face coverings at all times—except when eating or drinking—with a maximum of 10 people per group.
Harbes Family Farm (New York)
Harbes’ 78-acre farm in Riverhead, New York is filled with rows of apple trees. Have a favorite apple? Take a look at the website, which provides ripening times for all of the apples grown at the farm. Pumpkins are available for picking by the pound, too. But no matter where you are at the farm, social distancing guidelines must be observed and face masks worn at all times.
Fishkill Farms (New York)
At Fishkill Farms, pick-your-own apples and pears are only available by reservation. Reservations at the Hopewell Junction, New York farm can be made one week in advance, with a maximum of five people per group. Pumpkin picking reservations are expected to come shortly, so check the website for updates.
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Douglas Farm (Oregon)
This fifth-generation U-Pick farm on Sauvie Island in Oregon requires guests to wash hands before and after picking apples, with masks required on the farm. Farmhands will provide boxes for you to take home your bounty, which, along with apples, includes beans, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Alldredge Orchards (Missouri)
Pick your own apples and pumpkins at this Platte City, Missouri farm, which also offers hayrides and farm animal feedings. The farm is open through November, but not every weekend—so make sure you check the website before heading over. Face masks are required on site for ages three and up.
Milky Way Farm (Pennsylvania)
The annual pumpkin harvest season at this Chester Springs, Pennsylvania farm runs until the end of October, with the farm expecting to grow 25,000 pumpkins. Pumpkin picking is only available on weekends, with the walking path and pumpkin purchases open on weekdays. Milky Way Farm also offers favorite activities like the corn maze and a farm animal petting zoo.
Tuttle Orchards (Indiana)
Reservations are required for all guests who want to pick apples and pumpkins at Tuttle Orchards in Indianapolis, Indiana. Due to a May freeze, there’s a limited supply of apples, but you can still expect varieties like Golden Delicious, Jonathan, and Cortland. Masks will be required for indoor and tent areas, and the orchard will be operating at a limited capacity.
Carpinito Brothers (Washington)
At the Carpinito Brothers farm, you can wander through a pumpkin patch with a backdrop of Mount Rainier. Located in Kent, Washington, the farm’s pumpkin patch is rife with mini and jumbo pumpkins, gourds, and squash—perfect for all your Jack-o’-lantern and pumpkin pie needs. All guests who want to visit are encouraged to wear a face covering and only arrive if feeling healthy.
Willowbrook Apple Farm (California)
At Willowbrook Apple Farm in Oak Glen, California, you can not only pick apples, but also press your own apple cider. The team at the farm has gathered cider-friendly apples that are ready to be pressed, so all you’ve got to do is turn the crank. To keep customers and guests safe, everyone will be required to wear a mask.
Rogers Orchard (Connecticut)
This Southington, Connecticut orchard is offering three different sized bags to fill up with apples (from ½ a peck to ½ a bushel). Once you pay, you can head into the field, mask in tow, where you’ll find sanitation practices at high-touch points.
Sky Top Orchard (North Carolina)
Along with picking apples, you’ll also want to know that at this North Carolina farm you can also enjoy hot apple cider donuts—made right in front of you while you watch. Masks are required to enter, but once you’re in, you can nab pumpkins and gourds, visit with farm animals, walk a nature trail, and stock up on honey and jam.
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