By Tami Yu
It's officially fall and we're craving pumpkins and apple cider. Fortunately, the Bay Area is home to pumpkin patches, pick-your-own apple orchards, cornfield mazes and more. Make a day trip to local farms with friends as you revel in the season's bountiful harvest. Here are a few of our favorites:
Peter Pumpkin Patch
Run by the awesome folks at Spring Hill Cheese Company, their Peter Pumpkin Patch is a real, honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch - you have to actually hunt around to get your own pumpkin. Visitors also get to taste fresh made ice cream and cheese, as well as dig for potatoes.
Spring Hill Cheese Company, 4235 Spring Hill Road at Stemer Road, Petaluma (707-762-3446 or springhillcheese.com)
G & M Farms
Great for families, G & M Farms has a pumpkin patch as well as their popular six-acre cornfield maze. During the weekends, the little kids will really enjoy the pony rides, pedal carts, and their famous cow train.
G & M Farms, Airway Boulevard Exit off of I-580, Livermore (925-447-FARM or gmfarms.com)
A certified organic fruit orchard, Gabriel Farm offers U-Pick apple weekends as well as appointments during weekdays ($2 per pound). Varieties include Gilbert Golden Delicious, Pink Ladies, Fuji and Rome Beauty. They also sell different types of Asian pears, jams, and Asian pear apple juice at their farm store. After Halloween, they will have U-Pick persimmon days.
Gabriel Farm, 3175 Sullivan Road at Graton Road, Sebastopol (707-829-0617 or gabrielfarm.com)
Chileno Valley Ranch
Primarily a grass-fed beef ranch, Chileno Valley Ranch has an organic apple orchard that offers varieties such as Orin, Pinova, Molly's Delicious and Jonathan's Pride. All apples are blind taste test winners, but you need to call ahead to set up a U-Pick appointment.
Chileno Valley Ranch, 5105 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma (707-765-6664 or chilenobnb.com)
Hale's Apple Farm
If you're in the Sebastopol area, be sure to grab a pumpkin at Hale's Apple Farm. The small family farm will also have lots of apple varieties for sale. If you're super lucky, and if they're not too busy, they just might let you pick your own apples, straight from the orchard.
Hale's Apple Farm, 1526 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol (707-823-4613)
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