Last week I told you that fall is my absolute favorite time of year, with some reasons why. This past weekend I was lucky enough to celebrate all that autumn has to offer at Harvest Moon Orchards. Harvest Moon is an excellent farm in North Salem, NY that offers pick your own apples & pumpkins, as well as a vast array of fresh produce in their farm stand. It was the perfect way to get in some quality family time and fun.
We had been to Harvest Moon Orchards a few times in the past and knew that they had extensive orchards, ample parking, and were just an hour from us; all of which important, especially with a toddler. We sat in about 15 minutes of traffic from the exit to the farm, so we knew that there would be sizeable crowds. Once we turned into the farm, we got a parking spot that was incredibly close to the action and quickly found out there was a festival happening filling the farm with family fun.
Fall Festival & Family Activities
The air was rich with scents from about a dozen food vendors shelling out everything from grilled sweet corn to barbeque to apple cider donuts. Since we arrived close to lunchtime with a hungry child food was our first order of business. We jumped on the barbeque line, which was notably longer than most, where we grabbed mac n’ cheese & chicken for Nikki, which I, of course, picked on. Due to the large crowds, we were unable to find any open seating, so we fed her as she sat in her stroller and we just stood.
Once we finished eating, we perused the various activities offered at the festival. Most of the festival is geared toward family-friendly fun. They offer bounce houses, hayrides, bungee trampolines, face painting, pony rides, and apple cannons. All of the activities provided are pay as you go, cash only, starting at $5. A day here can quickly become costly, so it’s smart to preplan, especially when bringing children. For some adult fun, you can grab some Hardscrabble Cider or beer and snag a seat by the band that plays live music on weekends.
Nikki is still quite young, so we weren’t comfortable sending her into the crowded bounce houses with much larger children. The line for that area was also long and unruly, so we were glad to skip it. Many of the activities offered were outside of her age range, but she didn’t seem to mind. We were waiting in line for a hayride, but she became antsy, as toddlers often do, after about 20 minutes of barely moving so we bailed and headed over to the pumpkin patch.
Pick Your Own Apples & Pumpkins
In the middle of all the wonderful festivities, there is a pen full of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes. This was indeed my daughter’s favorite place on the farm; she ran among the pumpkins as if it were her natural habitat. The pumpkins were off the vine and arranged so that you could walk in “paths” between mini patches. Nikki ran from patch to patch hugging pumpkins and sitting among them in the cutest ways.
When she realized that there were larger pumpkins she was in her glory. Like any good toddler, she was also a bit obsessed with the sizing stickers she found on them. After about an hour of playing and taking pictures in the patch, we told her to pick one to take home. She hugged the biggest pumpkin in her sight and said “Daaddd,” which of course meant we were to take it home. She is such a daddy’s girl, and my husband began speaking out loud to nobody about how his girl needed the best pumpkin they had.
We returned to the car to store our massive pumpkin and got in line for entry into the orchards. Unfortunately, because it’s late in the season, an announcement was made that the trees were picked bare. The attendant at the orchard gate told us we could choose our apples from bins strategically placed among the trees. Our other option was shopping that weeks harvest in the farm stand. After weighing our options, we decided that mountain climbing with a toddler was probably a poor choice & headed to the store.
The farm stand was absolute heaven for me. It was full of fresh jams and jellies, and brimming with brightly colored produce.
We left with a peck of apples, half a dozen tomatoes, and a bag packed with vibrant poblanos to make a promising chili. I also grabbed some delectable cider doughnuts for the way home.
All in all, our day at the farm was full of memorable fun, and I can’t wait to share some great recipes with you from our haul.