The best way to get to know Ohio is to dig into its agricultural roots. Even as the temperature begins to drop, and warm summer days give way to crisp fall evenings and winter’s chill, the richness of Ohio lives in its agritourism spaces.
Fun on the Farm
Blend a fun farm experience with a unique learning opportunity for both kids and adults at Young’s Jersey Dairy. Guests are invited to see the resident Jersey cows get milked daily, and are encouraged to talk to staff about what the process is like, and why their cows make such good cheese. Try the cheese, along with an assortment of other fresh dairy-filled products, for yourself by ordering off the full menu in the Dairy Store. Even on the chilliest of days, you won’t want miss out on the farm’s famous homemade ice cream, including favorite seasonal flavors like cinnamon, pumpkin (which truly tastes like pumpkin pie!) and peppermint stick.
There’s also a whole lot of fun to get into. “Our first venture beyond offering milk and ice cream was the mini golf course that our family built in the ’90s. It was so popular that we added another mini golf course, a driving range, batting cage and a slide … and the farm turned into a destination,” says John Young, the CIEIO (Chief Imagination Executive, Internet and Otherwise) of Young’s Jersey Dairy. “Fall especially is really a cool time to visit – even for me, and I’ve been around there for 40 years. Our guests get excited for all the activities like picking their own pumpkins or getting lost in Cowvin’s Corny Maze.” Be sure to come back in winter for special events, including the Young’s birthday celebration in January.
John Young is proud to be part of the fourth generation of Youngs helping people enjoy the farm. “Having a multigenerational business is a rarity, so I love hearing the same thing from our customers: ‘My grandmother used to come here when she was younger and brought her kids. Now we bring my kids.’ It’s become a tradition for them.”
More Fresh Finds: Fall at White House Fruit Farm in Canfield brings homemade donuts, fresh apple cider, horse-drawn wagon rides and even a children’s petting zoo. Travel back in time to the 1880s at Slate Run Living Historical Farm in Canal Winchester. Meet costumed staff who demonstrate period technology, along with a variety of farm animals.
Take to the Fields
Fruit tastes sweetest when it’s plucked fresh from the fields, which is why so many Ohio farms welcome visitors to explore the acreage for themselves with u-pick opportunities. Family-owned and -operated since 1994, Peifer Orchards in Yellow Springs encourages visitors to slide on their most comfortable shoes and head out into the u-pick fields from early September through October. Bring the kids to partake in apple picking on the weekends for a hands-on lesson about how the fruit grows – ending with a basket of the ripest, freshest apple varieties they picked for themselves. If you’re looking for more fresh options as the season progresses, the farm market is open through December and offers options like fresh apple cider, local honey, Ohio maple syrup and baked goods.
More Fresh Finds: Walk through the expansive orchard at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala to pick your own apples. Need some veggies to round out your plate? Shop the market for local produce. Take a farm tour at Bauman Orchards to learn about this orchard in Rittman before handpicking your selection from 25 varieties of apple trees.
Soak in the Season
Paintball, hayrides and other attractions at Niederman Family Farm started as a resourceful effort to keep the business that has been in the family since 1948. Now, 22 seasons of activities later, the farm has become a community staple.
“Fall is such a nostalgic time of year, so everyone enjoys the simpler pleasures here like making a s’more, taking a hayride, exploring the corn maze and just being outside,” says Bethann Niederman, the Director of Fun at the farm. Get in the spirit by exploring the sunflower field, picking your own pumpkins or, on colder days, booking an ever-popular bonfire rental. The farm will set everything up and even light the fire for you, giving you a home base for the crisp evenings so you can settle in to warm up with a campfire chat after a day of play.
If you’re looking for a treat, the market offers locally made seasonal items. Or you can hit the concession stand for fan favorites. “Our doughnuts are very popular — made fresh and served to order,” says Niederman. “And my personal favorite is our hand-dipped caramel apples. We work with a local orchard that supplies the apples, then we dip them here.” In addition to fresh apples, the Niedermans also bring in goods from several other local families, from honey to pumpkins to candles. They focus on raising up their entire community each season, and that dedication to their neighbors helps enrich the visitor experience.
“We have a passion for preserving our family farm and serving our community and guests. Who doesn’t enjoy making people happy?”
More Fresh Finds: Snap great family pictures in the u-pick sunflower field at Lohstroh Family Farms in Mt. Sterling or shop at the farm market. At Fleitz Pumpkin Farm in Oregon, hop on a hayride or lose yourself in the five-acre corn maze. Looking for a little fitness with your pumpkin pickup? Before picking your future jack-o-lantern, hike the backwoods trail at Libby’s Pumpkin Patch in Albany.
Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy
In today’s fast-paced world, we often need reminders to slow down, log off and reconnect with the people who matter. Ohio breweries offer the ideal setting to relish a laidback afternoon and recharge. Fibonacci Brewing Company is a nanobrewery that prides itself on producing high quality craft beers with non-traditional styles, many of which are crafted with several ingredients grown on-site or sourced through local farms. The Mount Healthy taproom features unique hops-shaped lighting over the bar and a quirky mural. Keep your eyes out for winter releases like the bourbon barrel-aged Christmas Ale and mulled wine. If the weather is kind, take a stroll around the urban farm and greet the three resident goats, Honey, Fiddlehead and Buttercup, and 10 chickens. You can even extend the fun by booking a night in two on-site Airbnbs in the upstairs of the farmhouse.
More Fresh Finds: Wooly Pig Farm Brewery in Fresno is committed to sustainability. Meet the curly haired Mangalitsa pigs that gave the brewery its name before enjoying a brew. Twin Oast Brewing in Port Clinton takes its Farm-to-Fermenter mission to heart. The brewery is located on a 60-acre farm with hundreds of fruit trees you can explore with a fresh beer in hand.
Deck The Halls
When the holidays come back around, so do family traditions rooted in Ohio’s soil. Throughout the year, Ohio foresters tend to evergreen trees that become festive centerpieces in our homes during the holiday season. If one of your traditions is hunting for the perfect Christmas tree, celebrate Ohio’s bounty by packing the family into the car and venturing out to places like Corsi Tree Farm in Hamersville. Comb through 100 acres of spruce, pine and fir trees with a farm-provided tarp and handsaw to figure out what kind of tree you’re looking for. Once you find that perfect match, haul your tree (or have a team haul it for you) to the bailer, and have it prepped to transport home. After you’ve secured your tree to your car, warm up and celebrate a job well done with a hot chocolate or coffee in Broken Stone Lodge. It may be cold outside, but the family memories will be warm in your children’s hearts for decades to come.
More Fresh Finds: Kall Christmas Tree Farm in Medina is a family-run farm that welcomes visitors with hot chocolate and cookies. Be sure to greet the alpacas! At Quarry Hill Orchards in Berlin Heights, gather at the Merry, Merry Market Barn for a wreath making workshop and holiday festivities.
Be Ohio Proud
Ohio Proud stands for food, nursery items, crafts, agritourism sites, farmers’ markets, state parks and many other products and destinations with roots in Ohio soil. Ohio Proud foods are raised, grown or processed in Ohio by Buckeyes. You can serve Ohio Proud foods to your family with the confidence that they came from your friends and neighbors just down the road — not from thousands of miles away. Visit ohioproud.org for a full list of local offerings close to home.
Get know your local farmers and fill your basket with fresh finds.
Grab an Ohio Proud recipe and your locally grown ingredients and get cooking!
While you’re writing your shopping list, check to see what’s in season.