The Rural Review: Country farms near Toronto

Three words: Pick. Your. Own. Whether you’re looking to come home with a bag of freshly plucked Ontario apples or frolic about the pumpkin patch with your pals, these Ontario farms are ready with all the essential autumnal activities. These close-to-the-city spots offer everything from a quintessential fall wagon ride through the field, to estate wineries, to weekend farmers markets. [Image credit: iStock.com/FamVeld]

Chudleigh's Apple Farm

1
9528 REGIONAL ROAD 25, Milton, ON L9T 2X7

Through until October 31st, this family farm will offer pick-your-own apples in over a dozen varieties (check the website’s apple glossary for details on the sweet versus the tangy and where your apple will fall on the crispy-crunchy-juicy spectrum). But Chudleigh’s is no one trick pony – and neither are the fleet of cute mini-horses ready to take you on a quintessential pony ride. Other activities include wagon rides, a haystacks maze, and a little adventure on the towers and bridges climbing area. Admission is $42 per family-of-four, while kids under three are free. ☺

Carl Laidlaw Orchards

2
9496 Heritage Rd, Brampton, ON L6X 0A1

Stop into this Brampton-based farm on a Saturday or Sunday (because they’re only open on the weekends) for a little apple or pear picking. Mark and Laura are the sixth generation of Laidlaws to operate the farm (and their cute kids make the seventh!). With 100 acres overlooking the Credit Valley River, it’s the spot to grab some views and get a little fresh air out of the city. Check out the website for mouth-watering family recipes like the autumn fruit crisp and the classic Laidlaw family apple pie.

Orchalaw Farm

3
9726 Heritage Rd, Brampton, ON L6X 0A2

This country farm is a convenient 45 minutes-or-so drive for west-enders looking for a quick day trip out of the city. Visit the pumpkin patch for some seriously jack-o-lantern-ready gourds, or stock up on squash (with six different varieties, you can have a pretty serious squash bake when you get home). If you’re a fan of decking out your spot with corn stalks, seasonal gourds, and hay bales, Orchalaw Farms can hook you up with that, too.

Avalon Orchards

4
3150 5th Line, Innisfil, ON L9S 4P7

On your way up to the cottage for the weekend? Stop in for a dose of outdoor autumnal charm at this Barrie orchard and family farm. Take a tour through acres and acres of ripe-and-ready apple trees or wait for the wagon ride across the property. Peckish parties will be pleased at the fresh mini donuts and piping hot apple cider on offer. Bonus: pick up some certified organic mulling spices to make your own cider or hot wine at home.

Applewood Farm Winery

5
12442 McCowan Rd, Stouffville, ON L4A 7X5

As much a treat for adults as their eager kids, this award-winning fruit farm is the spot to pick your own apples and pumpkins, visit a quaint petting zoo, and finish it off with a quick wine tasting at the on-site winery. Notable libations include the black currant port, the apple jack bourbon whiskey, and of course, the Applewoods apple cider.

Whittamore's Berry Farm

6
8100 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L6B 1A8

This closeby Markham farm is more of a wholesome, rural theme park. A perfect place to tire out a gaggle of kids, Whittamore’s hosts Halloween programming that includes a Spooky Forest, a slew of play-places that beg to be climbed (think tire-swing horsies, turbo slides, and hay bale pyramids), plus a corn stalk maze that will equally delight and spook. Pick up fresh apples and pumpkins as well as a host of other goodies at the Whittamore’s Farm Shop.

Pingle's Farm Market

7
1805 Taunton Rd, Oshawa, ON

The ideal family getaway-for-the-day for Toronto’s east enders, this Hampton farm truly celebrates all things autumnal. Pick your own apples to bring home to the baker of the house, or peruse the garden centre for gorgeous plants that are perfect for fall. Also pick up ready-made baked goods at the Pingle’s bakery and tour the Farm Market store for seasonal Ontario fruits and veggies, as well as an assortment or giftware, preserves, and garden décor. The charming farm will also host a spooky parade on Halloween Day – show up in costume for a fun daytime activity with the kids.

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