Strawberry Fields Forever
You'll go out of your gourd for these local farms and fruit orchards, freshly picked by our staff as Cleveland's best.
By Jen Jones Donatelli
Relish your weekly trip to the farmer's market? Take it a step further by going straight to the source at one of Cleveland's numerous fruit farms and orchards. (The fall harvest has never been so much fun.)
The hills are alive at this scenic orchard, which boasts more than 122 acres and 4,000 apple trees. And it's beautiful to boot-Mapleside was named "America's Most Beautiful Farm" in 2011. Among the 17 varieties ripe for the picking are Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Empire. In the fall, the farm morphs into Pumpkin Village replete with giant corn maze and the country's longest Super Slide at 311 feet; visit during Pumpkin Fest weekend (October 10 & 11) to browse Ohio's largest pumpkin patch. Other attractions include a summer concert series and a new 70-foot "jumping pillow" for kids.
294 Pearl Rd., Brunswick
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Monday-Thursday); 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday); 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Saturday); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday); closed on Monday
Don your raspberry beret and spend a peaceful day at Rosby Berry Farm. Not only does the farm offer bountiful red raspberries for picking, but visitors can also buy specialty goods like local raw honey and cinnamon creamed honey, pickling cucumbers, pre-picked strawberries, dill, and vibrant bouquets of mums and zinnias. Pro tip: check out their website for awesome raspberry-centric recipes. (Raspberry Cheese Trifle and Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova, anyone?)
42 E. Schaaf Road, Brooklyn Heights
9 a.m. to dusk (Monday-Friday); 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weekends)
Seasonal strawberry- and apple-picking are the name of the game at this storied fruit farm, which has two locations in Chesterland. One of the best ways to experience Patterson is during its annual Fun Fest, held for several months in the fall (September 16 through November 1 in 2015). Families can engage in activities like horse-drawn wagon and pony rides, nature hikes and pumpkin painting, while more adventurous types can climb a tree house, ride the 50-foot double slide, wander a corn maze, or play in the haystack. For year-round enjoyment, check out the farm's produce stand for everything from delicious apple cider to fresh maple syrup.
11414 Caves Road, Chesterland (produce market and café); 8765 Mulberry Road, Chesterland (pick-your-own, tours, and Family Fun Fest)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Get your harvest on with this annual tradition at Bath's rustic Hale Farm. Held October 3-4 this year, the festival offers a veritable cornucopia of activities-from apple butter making to pumpkin painting. Time your visit right, and you just might catch a cameo from Johnny Appleseed. To cap off the experience, make a trip to the on-site pumpkin patch for a great pumpkin that would make even Charlie Brown proud.
686 Oak Hill Road, Bath
Hours (fall season):
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekends)