Autumn has finally arrived, bringing with it changing leaves and cooler temperatures: Perfect weather for sipping hot spiced cider while the children get lost in a corn maze for a little while.
And residents can enjoy the bounties Longmont’s farm country has to offer without straying too far from home.
For delicious apple products, including cider, donuts and pies, Ya Ya’s Farm & Orchard is conveniently located just off Colo. 66. The property is sheltered from the road and the drive is a little hidden, just a mile west of 75th Avenue. Entry is free, though reservations are required for picking fruit in the orchards.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the orchard is not offering hay rides, and requires guests to wear a mask and social distance while enjoying a trip to the farm.
Two massive Percheron draft horses live on the farm, doing their part with fallen apple clean up.
Freezing weather in April had some effect on the crops, but as a whole owner Sharon Perdue has enjoyed the season.
“There is so much to be grateful for,” Perdue said. “The early September snow wasn’t so bad. And people have been extra kind. There seems to be a stronger sense of family.”
Just 1½ miles east of Ya Ya’s on Colo. 66, is the Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch. In operation since 1993, it features a variety of activities, particularly for younger kids. There are pumpkins to be picked and painted, and a 32-inch hay bale maze provides some prime photo opportunities.
Weekdays offer a more sedate, self-guided experience, but weekends are when the seasonal festivities ramp up. Kids can wear themselves out on the carnival and pony rides and at the petting zoo before they pick their pumpkin from the grounds.
Lauren Freas, manager and daughter of the owners, is excited about the harvest this year.
“People still want to have this traditional experience. All our pumpkins, gourds and squash are certified organic. We had a good harvest, and we want to share that,” she said.Continuing a few miles east on Colo. 66 leads to Bee Hugger Farm, a 6-acre farm that is available for private functions, as well as visits to explore its pumpkin patch and sunflower fields. The full festivities begin at noon Saturday, with a haunted VW Bug yard, pony rides, farm animal feeding, and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.
South of Longmont in Erie, Anderson Farms offers a number of activities. Though some will be closed this year because of COVID, most are still in operation. A corn maze, wagon rides and pedal karts are just a few things to enjoy while searching for the perfect pumpkin to carve. In addition, Anderson Farms will hold it’s Terror in the Corn haunted maze on weekend nights, with strict mask policies in place and advanced tickets required.
Not all pumpkin patches will be opening this year. Further afield, Rock Creek Farm in Broomfield has decided to close this season.
On its Facebook page farm managers explained their decision: “With the current state and Boulder County restrictions and regulations surrounding COVID 19 we feel we can not in good faith effectively comply nor enforce them. Therefore, we will be closed this season unless things change going forward. Too bad, we have a great maze and crop of pumpkins this year. On the bright side, our cows just won the jackpot. Thanks for your patience and understanding. It's the right thing to do. Hope to see you next year.”
Precautions should still be taken and farm visitors are asked to respect the social distancing and mask guidelines, to wash their hands (and pumpkins) and to be kind at the beginning of this spooky season.