Farms offer families a chance for fall fun

Two-year-old Jalisa Williams of Amsterdam said she was having a good time visiting the farm. “I like

Two-year-old Jalisa Williams of Amsterdam said she was having a good time visiting the farm.

“I like horses,” she said.

Jalisa saw some of what she liked at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont. Her cousin, Wendy Desmoines of Slingerlands, said she came for the cider donuts. “Even though I’m 19 years old, I still like going to the petting zoo,” she said.

The beautiful fall weather prompted many to pick up that Halloween pumpkin or go for a pony ride this weekend.

Hillary White of Albany and her 2-year-old daughter Adrianne were feeding the sheep.

“She loves to feed the animals,” White said. “That’s all she talked about [Sunday] from the moment she woke up.”

John Schultz, an employee at Indian Ladder Farms, said business has been brisk. He started the day with about 2,000 pumpkins and they were going fast. The weather has been a big help in encouraging people to visit the farm.

State officials have been recognizing and trying to promote agricultural tourism as a key sector of the economy.

Ruth Paserey of Glenmont, who brought her grandchildren to Indian Ladder, agreed that farms are important to the local economy.

“We always try to pick apples, pick pumpkins right at the farm,” she said.

The long Columbus Day weekend prompted some farms to have additional activities for the holiday. The Pumpkin Patch, located at 2716 Creek Road in Esperance, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. It is normally open from 3 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Angela VanDerwerken, marketing director, estimated about 10,000 people per week visit the farm, which is in its 25th year. The business was started by Jim and Lois VanDerwerken.

“Our motto is affordable family fun so we try to keep the admission free,” said VanDerwerken. “You pay for what you pick.”

They have pumpkins for as little as 50 cents to $15 or more, as well as a corn maze and hay maze.

“You pick them actually on the vine they grew on,” she said.

VanDerwerken, whose day job is an economist with the Department of Labor, said it seemed farm tourism is growing.

“I think people’s mentality has changed,” she said. “They want to spend time with their family. It makes them happy. Nobody is ever in a bad mood at the Pumpkin Patch.

Sunnyside Gardens in Saratoga Springs is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. It features a hayride through the Spooky Woods, train ride through the pumpkin patch and a Hall of Flame carved pumpkin display.

At Liberty Ridge Farm, 29 Beavis Road in Schaghticoke, the Fall Festival runs through Nov. 11. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m to 10 p.m.

Cost is $8.50 per person Tuesday through Thursday and $9.50 on Friday and Saturday. Children age 2 and under are free.

In Princetown at Indian House Farm on Giffords Church Road, there is a haunted maze that continues this Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $7. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital Albany Medical Center.

Categories: Schenectady County

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