Boy and Mother in Sunflower Field

Tips for Visiting a Farm or Orchard Responsibly

Fall in central Ontario offers residents and guests to the region the opportunity to visit an array of charming orchards and farms for special seasonal activities that include apple and pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and more. It’s the ideal time to escape the urban streets and rediscover the beautiful countryside. When visiting local farms and orchards this fall, remember it’s important to plan accordingly and always follow a few etiquette do’s and don’ts.

Gramps Apple Picking

Park only in Designated Areas

While many local farms, orchards, and wineries sprawl across several acres of land, guests are expected to park only in areas specifically designated for vehicles. These parking restrictions not only are for the safety of the visitors, but also for the safety of any animals on property and to help ensure that none of the natural vegetation is harmed unintentionally.

Double-check Pet Policies

While your dog may enjoy a visit to a local farm and its lush acres, many farms have their own animals and prefer visitors don’t bring pets onto the property. However, some like the Nature’s Bounty Farm in Port Perry do allow for pet visitors but only in areas designated for pet walking. Please be respectful of the individual farm and orchard policies for pets.

Dog Catching Leaves

Only Visit Area Open to the Public

It’s essential to remember that the farm or orchard is a working business and it may even have a private residence on the property. Guests should only visit areas clearly identified as open to the public.

Never Climb Trees

Some apple trees in regional orchards are several years old. While still fruit-bearing, these trees as well as their younger cousins should always be treated with respect. In Durham alone, more than 27 different varieties of heirloom apples grow. These produce the fruit that provide seasonal favourites such as apple cider, apple wine, apple dumplings, and unforgettably delicious caramel apples. When out enjoying an afternoon of apple picking, visitors should always refrain from climbing the fruit trees. Not only can it be dangerous, but it can hurt the tree. Let the kids burn off excess energy after the apple picking by taking advantage of other activities offered on the farm. Many like Cooper’s Farm have large corn mazes to explore, while some like the Brooks Farm have a Barnyard Playland just for kids.

Apple Tree

Supervise Children

A family trip to the farm or orchard should be fun for all ages, but sometimes the younger ones can get restless. Even when the kids are in a designated play area of the farm, adults and parents are asked to supervise for the children’s safety and well-being. Play it safe and have fun! Take a wagon ride, explore the u-pick pumpkin patch, or simple enjoy some quiet time together away from the chaos of the city. If samples are allowed, take the time to remind children that they’re visiting a working farm or orchard and the yummy fruit is the farmer’s livelihood.
Before you head out to take in the various pick-your-own experiences, check the websites of the individual farm or orchard for specific hours and any special events.

Information courtesy of Ontario Farm Fresh!

Keep in mind that due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the activities may not be fully available, as well, you may need to purchase tickets online – make sure you check the locations website for more information to ensure a safe visit for all.

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