Special Sections » Fall Guide

OUTDOORS: Fall flavors

Local farm stands offer the sights and tastes of autumnRochester-area farms/farmstands


Fall always creeps in slowly. First it's a couple of red leaves here, some cool breezes there. And before you know it, the crisp days and beautiful colors are here to stay. Well, for a couple of months anyway. Fall goes as quickly as it arrives. The leaves on the trees get most of the attention, but there is another thing about fall that disappears just as quickly as those oranges and reds: the food.

Fresh cinnamon doughnuts that melt in your mouth. Apple cider that's both sharp and sweet. Raspberry pie. These are the things that keep me from moving to a warmer state. I can make it through the heaps of snow and outrageous electric bills so long as I get my fresh apple cider each autumn.

There are many local farms and orchards around Rochester where you can get all of these fall foods hot and fresh — and sometimes made from products right off of the tree. They are all less than an hour's drive from the city, and are certain to satisfy your need for fall food and gorgeous scenery. We've picked three farms to feature that offer very different fall-excursion experiences. But that's just the beginning. Consult the sidebar for a wider selection of area farms. If we missed one, please add it to this list at rochestercitynewspaper.com.

Hurd Orchards, located at 17260 Ridge Road in Holley, is perfect for an authentic farm experience in the fall. It's only 30 minutes from Rochester, but it couldn't feel further from the big city. You can pick your own plums and apples right off the trees, and wander through a field of pumpkins to choose the perfect one for carving. The jams, jarred fruits, and pickles sold in the store are made from produce grown right on the farm. This is food you'll feel proud to eat. The jams themselves are packaged so artfully they could stand alone as a centerpiece.

You can also bring some of this deliciousness home with you. Hurd Orchards offers a weekly "bountiful harvest box" that can be picked up at the orchard or at various locations throughout Rochester. Each box includes fruit, home-baked bread, farm fresh eggs, jam, and an assortment of fall foliage. Doesn't that sound better than another frozen dinner? Don't wait too long; Mother Nature has a short attention span. Plum picking ends in mid-September and apple picking goes into November. Pumpkins are available through October. The orchard is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through December. For more information visit hurdorchards.com.

A trip to pick up some of fall's best foods can also be great for families. Wickham Farms (1821 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, Penfield) has fresh treats as well as lots of fun for kids. There is a giant corn maze, a mini-golf course, and a kiddie train ride. Kids can also feed the animals or try their hand at the batting cages. Meanwhile, grown-ups get to stuff themselves with real maple syrup and honey, cheeses, and baked goods made from scratch.

Best of all are the hot apple cider and cookies. Grab a bite, dig in, and sit and digest the autumn flavors while taking a hay ride around the pumpkin patch before you leave. Keep an eye out for your favorite pumpkin and take it home to carve. Wickham Farms is open daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and is only a 15 minute drive from Rochester. For more information visit wickhamfarms.com.

The peaceful scenery of fall is also a great time for a long, quiet walk. Whether alone or with a friend, a walk allows you to glimpse all of the season's colors before they disappear. The Apple Farm (1640 State Route 444) in Victor has two hiking trails that go through the farm. One trail meanders through Ganondagon State Historic site's fields, ravines, and streams. The other takes you to Boughton Park.

All of that exercise will earn you a trip to the farm's bakery, where cider doughnuts, tarts, turnovers, and pies are all baked fresh. Why wait for Thanksgiving dessert when you can get it there? Your grandmother will never know. The farm also sells organic and gluten-free foods in its store. Eleven different types of apples are grown on farm's trees throughout the year, most of which remain to be picked through November. Unfortunately, Rochester's winter-that-never-was and extremely hot summer damaged some of the apples. There may be fewer varieties this season. Check the farm's website (thevictorapplefarm.com) throughout the fall to see what is available. Apple picking is allowed daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm is only about 20 minutes away from Rochester.

The Apple Farm

1640 State Route 444, Victor, 924-3420, thevictorapplefarm.com

Pick your own: apples

Buy at the store: organic and natural foods, donuts, cider, pies, tarts, turnovers

Burnap's Farm Market

7277 Maple Ave., Sodus


Kids' activities: corn maze, train ride, toy area

Pick your own: apples, raspberries,

Buy at the store: pies, breads, muffins, produce

Chase Farms Market

459 Pannell Road, Fairport

315-986-4013, chasefarmsmarket.com

Pick your own: raspberries, pumpkins

Buy at the store: roasted sweet corn, mums, winter squash, apples, gourds

G and S Orchards

825 Atlantic Ave., Walworth

315-524-3823, gandsorchards.com

Pick your own: pumpkins, apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

Buy at the store: pears, tomatilloes, leeks, gourds, winter squash

Green Acre Farm (two locations)

3460 Latta Road

930 Manitou Rd., Hilton

234-0252, greenacreupick.com

Pick your own: raspberries, peaches, nectarines, prunes, apples, pumpkins, gooseberries

Buy at the store: apple cider, pies, fry cakes

Gro-Moore Farm

2811 E. Henrietta Rd. Henrietta

359-3310, gromoore.com

Pick your own: pumpkins

Buy at the store: real maples syrup and honey, pies, cookies, donuts, popcorn, locally made cheeses, jams, eggs and more

Hurd Orchards

17260 Ridge Rd., Holley

638-8838, hurdorchards.com

Pick your own: plums, apples, pumpkins

Buy at the store: jams, pickles, jarred fruits, and more

Kelly's Apple Farm

611 Old Wilder Road, Hilton

392-8102, kellysfarmmarket.com

Pick your own: apples, pumpkins

Buy at the store: baked goods (from-scratch pies, breads), cider

Lagoner Farms

6985 Lake Ave., Williamson


Kids' activities: apple sling shot, wagon ride, train ride, apple core maze

Pick your own: apples, pumpkins

Buy at the store: flowers, jams, fudge, apple sauce, honey, maple syrup

Long Acre Farms

1342 Eddy Road, Macedon

315-986-4202, longacrefarms.com

Kids' activities: giant corn maze, pedal go-karts, climbing wall

Buy at the store: homemade ice cream (open through October), homemade fudge, pies, fresh vegetables

Powers Farm Market

161 Marsh Road, Pittsford

586-4631, powersfarmandmarket.com

Kids' activities: pumpkin patch, world's largest teepees, hay rides

Buy at the store: donuts, apple cider, homemade candy apples, plants

Pully's Farm Market

8160 Lake Street Road, Leroy


Kids' activities: pumpkin patch, pumpkin cannon

Buy at the store: flowers, apple cider, jams, apples

Stokoe Farm

South Road, Scottsville

889-0770, stokoefarms.com

At the farm: pumpkin patch and a pumpkin cannon

Whittier Fruit Farm

219 Whittier Road, Rochester

594-9054, whittierfruitfarm.com

Pick your own: apples, blueberries, pumpkins

Buy at the store: apple cider, ice cream

Free wagon rides on weekends

Wickham Farms

1821 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, Penfield

377-3276, wickhamfarms.com

Buy at the store: honey, maple syrup, cookies, cheese, hot cider, pies, pumpkins, apples.

For kids: hay ride, mini-golf, corn maze, train, batting cages

Zarpentine Farms

163 Burritt Road, Hilton


Kids' activities: world's largest corn maze

Buy at the store: apple fritter, cider fried cakes, cherry/chocolate turnovers, apple-caramel bread, pies, cinnamon rolls, apples, artisan cheese and more.

In This Guide...

  • Fall Guide 2012

    An awesome autumn
    The air is crisp and cool, the food is bountiful (thanks, harvest!), and most importantly, our area arts and cultural groups return with packed schedules after relatively quiet summer months.

  • ART: Wall wizardry

    Behind the curtains of three Rochester exhibition spaces
    When creative works are presented to the public, the illusion of a seamlessness is a necessary factor. On opening night of a theatrical production, the audience is immersed in pure experience along with the characters, and hopefully not pulled out of the story by the visible hand of the designers or director.

  • ART: Best bets

    While many Rochesterians dread the shortening of the days and the increased and lingering chill in the air, I love autumn for the sudden surge in art shows. Kids go back to school and our area's many academic institutions triple the amount of shows on display.

  • CLASSICAL: 2012 Highlights

    Two years ago, Rochester's concert halls swelled with the depths of the Russians. It seemed every orchestra, group, and soloist in town had something by the great masters Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev on their programs.

  • DANCE: Stop, collaborate, and listen

    Partnering with composers, musicians, and designers underscores the 2012-13 dance season
    Dance is about being fully aware — completely present physically, mentally, and emotionally. That being said, let me note that it can be very difficult to get dancers and choreographers to project what they'll be doing a few months down the road, especially this year, when most of the dance groups in town seem primarily focused on their upcoming performances in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival (September 19-23).

  • FILM: Waiting for the weekends

    Your guide to this fall's buzzed-about movies
    There are nine Fridays (plus one very desirable Wednesday) between now and Thanksgiving, and, as usual, Hollywood will be pummeling you with movie upon movie. But autumn is typically a strange time for film, acting as a sort of bridge between summer's dopier action flicks and the end-of-the-year Oscar hopefuls.

  • MUSIC: That's the ticket

    Local venues explore alternatives to the big-ticket enterprises
    The conversation happens all the time among concert-going friends, and it tends to go something like this: "Hey dude, you should come to this super awesome fun time special concert." "I'd love to man, how much does it cost?"

  • MUSIC: Twelve for '12

    A look at a dozen of fall's must-see concerts
    When autumn leaves begin to fall, it's not just back to school — it's back to the clubs, where all kinds of music will be reverberating off the walls, and in your skull. There's almost too much talent calling Rochester home lately.

  • THEATER: Let's put on a show!

    How three local theater companies plan and approach their seasons
    Geva Theater Center's artistic director Mark Cuddy calls the huge piece of kraft paper his "planning wall" for the season he is working on — lists in different colors with dividing lines between them, but also extra sheets of paper tacked up helter-skelter to give it the look of the organized chaos it probably is. Yet that list of more than 50 titles eventually leads to the six main-stage plays (plus the annual production of "A Christmas Carol") that Geva is betting on for the next 11 months.

  • THEATER: Best bets

    Here are some of the plays I'm looking forward to seeing in the 2012-2013 Rochester theater season. The good news is that this season there are more plays I want to see than I have room to write about.

  • CALENDAR: Fall Special Events Guide

    Summer may be over, but it's not time to head indoors yet. Rochester has plenty of events to keep you busy through the fall.