October 21 @ 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
October 28 @ 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
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.
Getting some CT Grown products into your daily diet is easier than you might think. Here are 10 ways you can include CT Grown on your plate each day.
1. Look local for your morning eggs
If you like to cook up an omelet to get you going in the morning, take a look around your neighborhood to see where you might be able to pick up some fresh eggs. Many farms keep small flocks of chickens, and offer eggs at their farm store. Connecticut also has several large egg producers, selling products under brands like Eggland’s Best, The Farmers Cow, and Hillandale Farms.
2. Sign up for a dairy delivery
Several Connecticut dairy farms are working to bring the milkman back to our neighborhoods. You can find options for delivery services that bring fresh supplies of milk, yogurt, and cheese right to your doorstep. Some farms pair this offering with other CT Grown products, making it even easier to get your groceries and support your local farmers.
3. Pack a CT Grown apple for lunch
More than 2,000 acres in Connecticut are dedicated to growing apples, and bountiful harvests of this fruit are readily available from July to October. Visit an orchard to pick your own apples, then pack an apple with your lunch each day. Since apples store well, you can continue to find fresh apples from orchards throughout the winter and into the early spring.
4. Look for locally sourced items at your favorite restaurant
Several restaurants in Connecticut commit to partnerships with local farms to acquire seasonal items and staples such as dairy, meats, and shellfish. When local food is on the menu, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal items and discover delicious new varieties and cuts.
Be sure to check out CT Farm-to-Chef Week from September 9-16, 2023. This annual occasion showcases venues that use CT Grown food for their dishes and beverages, giving you a chance to discover new eateries with a farm-to-table commitment.
5. Find CT Grown when grocery shopping
Connecticut farms often partner with wholesalers and retailers to make their products available at local grocery stores and food co-ops. Look for the CT Grown logo to find food items that are produced locally. Some stores also feature special displays to showcase value-added products from Connecticut producers, such as honey, sauces, maple syrup, and salsas.
6. Make a local farm your meat market
Connecticut farms raise a wide variety of meats, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and even specialty items like bison and emu. A visit to one of these farms not only lets you discover new cuts, but also gives you the option to purchase large shares of meat to freeze for future meals.
7. Stock up on local wines
Connecticut is home to 45 licensed farm wineries featuring scenic vineyards and beautiful tasting rooms. In addition to picking up local options when shopping for wine, you can also sign up for a membership, wine club, or Adopt-A-Vine program that lets you regularly pick up new vintages or enjoy discounts when you visit a winery.
8. Use pick-your-own for your baking needs
Pick-your-own farms give you a chance to get out in the fields and orchards to select fresh seasonal items like apples, berries, peaches, pears, and pumpkins. Farms invite visitors to purchase these products in bulk, and you can put these larger quantities to good use with mouthwatering baking options like pies, breads, and muffins that use locally sourced ingredients.
9. Become a regular at the farmers’ market
By visiting a farmers’ market each week for some of your grocery shopping, you can discover new varieties of produce, custom cuts of meat, homemade sauces and jams, and much more. You can also talk directly with local farmers to get advice on how to best prepare and store your food.
10. Start researching CSAs now
Many farms participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, where you purchase a portion of a farm’s harvest in advance and regularly pick up shares of fresh produce during the growing season; CSAs are also available for products like flowers, meat, and cheese. Farmers begin welcoming sign-ups for CSA programs at the beginning of the year, but you can start looking into options near you to find one that fits your needs.
An excuse to play dress-up, put up decorations, and eat sweet treats? No wonder we love Halloween so much.
Halloween is also a great time to throw a party, bringing together family and friends to enjoy spooky-themed dishes and see who can come up with the most creative costume. Whether you’re planning a party for little ones to enjoy after trick or treating, a fun occasion for your family, or a gathering among adults, you can find ways to make CT Grown part of the celebration.
”From CT Grown pumpkins to delicious apple cider, and even hard cider for the adults, there are many options for adding local flavor into your Halloween celebration,” says Jaime Smith, Bureau Director of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation.
Apples are one of the most well-known crops in Connecticut. More than 60 different varieties are grown in the state, with flavors ranging from sweet to tart. The 2017 Census of Agriculture, latest data from the USDA, shows that Connecticut has 280 farms growing apples on over 2,000 acres of land.
Many of these farms welcome guests to pay a visit and pick their own apples. You can find these pick-your-own locations on the CT Grown map, or visit a local farmers’ market or retail location to see what’s available.
We’ve grown plenty creative in Connecticut when it comes to apple dishes, serving up everything from breakfast dishes to apple pie. Check out this page for a full slate of recipes. Or if you’re pressed for time, you could always just upend a bag from your local orchard into a bucket of water and invite your guests to go bobbing.
Pumpkins, gourds, and squash
It’s not a party without decorations, and no Halloween celebration is complete without a jack o’ lantern. Thankfully, Connecticut is well-stocked on pumpkins. In fact, the fat orange specimens favored for carving are known as Connecticut field pumpkins, and they have been cultivated here since pre-colonial times.
Pumpkins aren’t just a good way to demonstrate your creative skill. Save the seeds you scoop out and toast them with some cinnamon and sugar for a delicious, easy to make party snack. Connecticut field pumpkins can also supply you with the base ingredient for pumpkin pies, soups, and more.
Pumpkins are nearly as prolific as apples in Connecticut, with 267 farms offering them in 2017. Many of these venues also sell gourds, which appear almost otherworldly with multiple colors, curving shapes, and a slew of bumps. Simple and inexpensive, gourds offer an easy way to add festive flair to the spread of food and beverages at your party.
While soft-shelled gourds are destined for the compost bin after your party, hard-shelled ones can easily be repurposed. Once they’re cured and dried, they can be remade into drinking vessels, spoons, birdhouses, and any number of other useful items.
Appetizers with in-season produce
Several vegetables are still in season in Connecticut, and you can pick them up for a healthy party snack. As an added benefit, the late season harvest crops also lend themselves well to ghoulish arrangements on the appetizer tray. Here are a few ideas:
- Broccoli Frankenstein: Get artistic with your vegetables and create the face of Frankenstein’s monster. Florets of fresh CT Grown broccoli make a perfect base for this project. To take a look at a similar project featuring Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc., click here.
- Cauliflower Brain: Ever see the head of a cauliflower and think it looks a bit like a brain? Complete the illusion by roasting the vegetable and adding a topping like buffalo sauce or a creamy pink dressing. Check out this recipe, which takes the additional step of putting the final result into the head of a jack o’ lantern.
- Radish Eyeballs: Who knew radishes could be so creepy? Simply peel the radish and pop in an olive and you’ll have the perfect garnish for your appetizer plate or Halloween cocktail. Get more ideas for this spooky snack here.
Every fall, Connecticut residents eagerly await the availability of apple cider. Many Connecticut orchards produce this beverage, and some cider presses have been in operation for a century or longer.
Cider is created when ground-up apple mash is crushed beneath a press’s wooden boards, with the resulting juice strained through press cloths. Unlike apple juice, cider is unfiltered and has a darker color since apple particles are suspended in the drink.
Sweet cider will start to ferment over time, so drink it up fast — or set some of it aside for apple cider donuts.
Of course, fermented apple cider is exactly what some people will be after for their Halloween party. Several farms offering sweet cider will also have hard cider available. Look for both traditional options and those flavored with other locally grown ingredients like honey, hops, pumpkin, and berries.
Last year, we explained why we were naming chocolate milk the official drink of Halloween. This beverage provides 13 essential ingredients, namly calcium, vitamin D, and potassium; delivers a healthy dose of protein; and helps keep you hydrated.
Chocolate milk is a treat for all ages, but it’s a particularly good choice if your Halloween party will have younger guests. Look for a CT Grown choice to help support the 90 dairy farms in operation in Connecticut.
Wine and beer
Autumn is harvest time for the 45 licensed farm wineries in Connecticut. While the grapes collected this year won’t make their way into your stemware for awhile, you can pick up a few bottles made from previous harvests at a Connecticut Wine Country location. Learn more about where to find Connecticut wine here.
Fall also means seasonal beers at Connecticut’s independent breweries, many of which source their ingredients from local farms. While pumpkin flavored beers abound at this time of year, you’ll also see more brown and amber ales on tap, as well as heavier, more filling options like porters and stouts.
Drink responsibly, and enjoy a safe, spooky CT Grown Halloween!