Looking for a fun day out this fall? Make sure you include CT Grown on your itinerary! With tasty products and unforgettable experiences all throughout the harvest season, Connecticut farms help give autumn its unique character. Whether you’re looking for an interesting weekend activity or need a fun family excursion, you can find it at a local farm.
Don’t miss these CT Grown experiences while celebrating the “fall-idays” this year.
Pick your own apples
For many Connecticut families, visiting an apple orchard and picking your own apples is a beloved tradition. Take home a bag for snacking, or grab a few bushels to use in your baking and keep in storage during the winter. Please be sure to check ahead for availability, and follow the farm’s rules for the best experience.
Get some apple cider
We look forward to apple cider all year! This tangy beverage is delicious whether it’s warmed up with cinnamon and spices, served cold, or served extra cold as a cider slushie. And once cider season is back, apple cider donuts make their return as well! These treats are the perfect balance of apple, cinnamon, and sugar, and are a must-have to complement the crisp fall days.
Visit a pumpkin patch
Whether you need to find just the right pumpkin for a Halloween jack o’lantern or a selection of smaller specimens for your fall decorations, a visit to the pumpkin patch is in order. This is a particularly fun activity for children, who love to scramble among the pumpkins and find one that catches their eye.
Get lost in a corn maze
The distinctive corn mazes at Connecticut farms are projects that take months of planning and preparation. Once fall arrives, you can see the results of all this hard work and challenge yourself to navigate these intricate labyrinths. In addition to daytime visits, farms often schedule special evening events inviting people to try the maze by flashlight.
Enjoy a hayride
A hayride is a uniquely fall-flavored way to tour the farm fields. Hay bales are stacked in a wagon to provide surprisingly comfortable seating as a tractor pulls you along. Some farms pair hayrides with special fall events, such as spooky “haunted hayrides” for Halloween.
Have some seasonal ice cream
Too chilly for ice cream? Never! Though temperatures are dropping, farm ice cream stands remain open with fall flavors like pumpkin, gingerbread, or apple pie. Many of these stands close for the winter, so don’t miss this last chance for a special treat!
Find a fall fair or festival
Join the festivities! Fall is a popular time of year for festivals in Connecticut, with events celebrating the state’s bounty of apples, pumpkins, garlic, flowers, and more. Agricultural fair season winds down in October, but there are still a few last celebrations you can check out during the fall.
Stop by the farmers’ market
Most CT Grown products are in season in October, and the local farmers’ market is a great way to put CT Grown on your plate! You can find a market in just about every community in Connecticut, giving you a chance to peruse goods from local farms, connect with farmers, and enjoy live music and other activities. Outdoor farmers’ markets typically close their season at the end of October, but many communities continue their markets indoors during the winter.
Celebrate Aquaculture Month
Connecticut’s seafaring traditions have been part of the state’s culture for generations, with the proximity of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean giving the state convenient access to a wide range of aquaculture goods. There are 60,000 acres of shellfish beds harvested commercially along the Connecticut shoreline, and you can also find products like clams, mussels, lobsters, squid, and finfish hauled in by local fishermen. Kelp has also been growing in popularity, with a growing number of coastal farms harvesting this product.
Get ready for Thanksgiving
Start your preparations for the big Thanksgiving feast early! CT Grown farms are taking orders for turkeys, and reserving your bird ahead of time helps guarantee that you’ll have one available in November. You can also check with your local farm to get potatoes, green beans, homemade pies, wines, and other supplies for the holiday.
October 13 @ 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
October 6 @ 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
October 6 @ 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
In honor of the return of The Big E on September 15, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT Grown) is announcing a special prize giveaway running throughout the duration of New England’s favorite fair.
CT Grown’s Big E Giveaway features prizes totaling $500 in value — all featuring CT Grown products from farms throughout Connecticut. Prizes include:
- $250 Gift Card for Woodland Gardens in Manchester
- Maple Cutting Board (estimated value: $100) from Dovehill Farm in Moosup
- Cheese Basket (estimated value: $50) from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield
- 24-piece Chocolate Gift Box (estimated value: $50) from Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates in Goshen
- CT Grown Breakfast Gift Basket (estimated value: $50) with maple syrup from Maplewood Farm (Harwinton), honey from Union Bee Co. (Union), and jams/jellies from Killam & Bassette Farmstead (South Glastonbury)
To become eligible for the prize drawing, all you have to do is sign up to receive the CT Grown monthly newsletter between September 15 and October 1, 2023.
The CT Grown newsletter is a free publication sent to your inbox every month and is a great resource to learn more about what’s fresh from Connecticut’s amazing agriculture and aquaculture producers. Every month, we feature compelling stories, important updates, and family fun events around the state.
Featured CT Grown exhibitors
Fairgoers can see more than 15 CT Grown farm businesses at this year’s Big E. Scheduled exhibitors include:
- Union Bee Companyy (Sept. 15-16): honey and beehives
- Twin Pines Farm (Sept. 15-17): jams, relishes, pickles, honey
- Hilltop Apiaries (Sept. 17-18): honey
- Wholly Goat Farm (Sep. 18-19): goat milk soap
- Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (Sep. 19): honeybee hive display
- Connecticut Department of Agriculture (Sept. 20 – Connecticut Day): CT Grown apples, Arethusa Farm cheese, and giveaways
- CT Dairy (Sept. 20): Cabot cheese samples and giveaways
- Guardians Farm (Sep. 21-22): goat milk soap, beeswax products
- Maplewood Farm (Sept. 21-22): maple syrup
- Killam & Bassete Farmstead (Sep. 23-25): jams, jellies, relishes, sauces
- Hyde’s Dairy (Sept. 23-24): milk
- Double Trouble Acres (Sept. 26 -27): goat milk soap
- R Farm (Sept. 26-27): honey
- Blue Hill Too (Sept. 28-29): goat milk soap
- Newgate Farms (Sept. 28 to Oct. 1): tomato soup, tomato sauce, salsa, etc.
- Amazing Love Farms (Sept. 30 to Oct. 1): certified organic fruits and veggies, vegan farm snacks, garlic
Thirteen farm wineries from Connecticut Wine Country will also be at the fair offering samples of reds, whites, roses, and “frose” – frozen wine slushies.
About the Big E
The Big E is an annual fair held at the Eastern States Exhibition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and celebrates New England’s rich agricultural heritage — showcasing a blend of entertainment, culture, and the agricultural elements that have defined the region for generations.
At the center of The Big E is a deep-rooted commitment to agriculture, reflecting the importance of farming in the history and economy of the New England states. The event serves as a spectacular showcase of the region’s finest agricultural products, livestock, and agricultural practices — allowing visitors to learn, engage, and immerse themselves in the world of farming.
One of the most anticipated aspects of The Big E is the signature Avenue of States, where each of the six New England states has its own state house that embodies its distinct culture, history, and agricultural heritage. These state houses are more than just buildings; they are a window into the spirit of each state. Inside the state houses, visitors are treated to a sensory journey. From traditional crafts and iconic food offerings to historical exhibits and live performances, each state’s unique character comes alive.
CT Grown invites all Big E attendees to stop into the Connecticut building to sample the prizes being offered in the Big E Giveaway along with many other CT Grown farm products and items from Connecticut’s agriculture and aquaculture producers.