Ah, autumn – a season of cozy sweaters, warm beverages and cold nights around a fire. With the blazing heat of summer behind us, and chilly winter days full of snow on the horizon, autumn is the perfect time to celebrate outside and enjoy the year’s harvest. What better way to do so than by adventuring through a farmers market or farm festival?!
Many local farms have policies in place to keep you and your loved ones safe from COVID-19. So don’t let the pandemic keep you from your favorite fall activities! You can still celebrate autumn, and support local businesses.
Why should I support local farms?
In late April, a frost came through Ohio, killing many farmers’ crops. This frost, in combination with a significant decrease in sales due to COVID-19, has made 2020 a very difficult year for farmers. They need our support now more than ever, in order to keep providing for their communities.
Not only will supporting local farms help your local economy, it will also boost your health! Fresh produce is one of the best ways to fill your body with the nutrients you need. Unlike frozen fruits and vegetables from your grocery store, you are aware of what exactly you’re putting into your body when you eat local produce. Goodbye, hidden preservatives! A mixture of fresh air, happy soil, and a farmer’s love is the perfect recipe for delicious and nutritious food (and it’s sustainable, too!).
Finally, fall festivals are a staple autumn activity for many families. With pumpkin patches, spooky corn mazes, warm apple cider and the crisp fall air, what’s not to love? It’s a great way to celebrate the change in season, enjoy treasured traditions, and relax your mind of any stressors. Plus you get to support a local farm, while enjoying yourself and caring for your mental health. Win-Win-Win!
Don’t miss out on fall festivities! Check out this list of local farms, their events this fall, and how they’re protecting you against COVID-19.
Apple Hill Orchards | Mansfield and Fredericktown
Did someone say … donuts? Apple Hill Orchards’ apple donuts are made on-site daily. They’re sold alongside fresh-pressed apple cider, apples, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins and vegetables galore! If you have young kiddos, join Apple Hill for their Kids’ Day Weekend, October 5 and 6, 12–6 p.m. The event is jam-packed with fun fall activities.
If you can’t visit that weekend, or don’t have kids, Apple Hill has festival dates from mid-September to the end of October. Just remember to wear your mask and practice safe social distancing.
And you can still try their delicious goodies if you’d rather not attend a festival. Apple Hill has opened a drive-thru so you can enjoy the taste of autumn from the comfort of your home.
Athens Farmers Market | Athens
Athens Farmers Market is the place to be if you’re looking for fresh food in Athens County! They have fresh produce, fine meats and cheeses, delicious pastries, a wide selection of jams, gorgeous flower arrangements, and hand-crafted items from local artisans! Come visit more than 70 vendors every Saturday year-round, from 9 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon from April 15 through December 31. See their most recent COVID-19 policy.
Franklinton Farms | Columbus
Franklinton Farms is a nonprofit organization committed to environmental sustainability and social justice. They believe that everyone deserves access to fresh food, so they offer a 75% discount for SNAP/EBT and accept payment through various food and nutrition incentive programs. Email them at Info@FranklintonFarms.org for more information.
While their festival schedule is currently on hold because of COVID-19, they’ve created an online ordering portal. You can order produce Mondays at 6 p.m. to Thursdays at 10 p.m., and either pick up your items on Saturday or have them delivered. They even offer free delivery to Franklinton residents!
If you’d rather go in person, Franklinton Farms sets up at the Worthington Farmers Market every Saturday, and will have their own produce stand in Franklinton very soon. Check Franklinton Farms’ website for updated locations of the Worthington Farmers Market.
Freeman’s Farm | Galena
Freeman’s Farm understands a busy schedule, so they created Freeman’s Farm Six Great Weekends for those who can’t make it to a planned event. Every weekend, from mid-September to late October, you can pick your own pumpkin, enjoy the twists and turns of a hayride, taste the sweet flavors of kettle corn and apple butter, and participate in an abundance of activities. The activity schedule is subject to change as the COVID-19 situation evolves, be sure to give them a call at (740) 548.7866 to check current policies and plan your visit.
Leed’s Farm | Ostrander
Leed’s Farm is dedicated to fall family fun! For seven weekends in September and October, you can enjoy all the festival food you can handle, a ton of rides and activities for kids (and adults, of course!), hayrides and farm animals! For a complete list, as well as their COVID-19 policies, visit their website.
Their weekend farm festival opens September 19, and goes until October 31. It runs Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will also be open for one Friday – October 16.
Lynd Fruit Farm | Pataskala
Lynd Fruit Farm has it all: a market open until November 1, pick-your-own produce and holiday festivals. This year, they also have a COVID-19 policy to protect their guests and staff. Their pick-your-own apples are available now, while supplies last. Check their estimated schedule and mark your calendar for the weeks your favorites will ripen. Self-pick pumpkins usually starts the last weekend in September, and lasts for three weekends. And if you’re really feeling the fall mood, join Lynd Fruit Farm for their fall festival! They have an 8-acre corn maze with plenty of space for social distancing, rides and games, live music, a petting zoo, and campfires with s’more kits for purchase.
Go the extra mile
If you want to visit your favorite farm, but their COVID-19 polices are too relaxed for your comfort, take extra precautions yourself. Here are a few great ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors.
- Wear a mask! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks most likely reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they’re used in public settings. Just make sure your mask is clean, has two or more layers, and covers your nose, mouth and chin.
- Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. This is especially important if you’re in a public place and are about to eat or touch your face, have just used the restroom, or touched your mask or any object, person or animal. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are unavailable.
- Avoid close contact with those not in your immediate household. Staying 6 feet away is a good rule, but the more distance between you and others, the better.
- Avoid touching your face, especially if you cannot sanitize your hands first.
Thankfully, many farms have also created an online ordering portal with pickup and delivery options. This way, you can support local farms and your health, all from the safety of your home.
If your favorite farm isn’t listed above, visit their website or call them before you visit, to find out what they’re doing this autumn to protect you against COVID-19.