Apple and pumpkin picking is a must in the fall when you live in Southeastern Wisconsin. There are lots of apple orchards in the Milwaukee area and it’s hard to pick which one is best. One of our favorites is The Elegant Farmer, for their annual Autumn Harvest Fair. Our family has been going to this annual event for almost a decade!
This year the Autumn Harvest Fest runs from September 9th through October 22nd, open Saturdays & Sundays only. It is a fun family event with apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, pony rides and a corn maze. And, new this year is lazer tag! Admission and parking is free.
You can visit their website each week to see what types of apples they are picking for any given weekend during their Harvest Fest.
When you first arrive you pay for your activities right at the entrance. The hayride out to the orchard is $7 for adults and $5 for kids age 2 and older. If you don’t want to do the hayride you can also walk out to the orchards. But, be warned, if you’re picky on the variety that you’re looking for, you could be walking pretty far. You pay for apples after you pick, based on the size of your basket.
Once you’re out in the orchard, you’ll see that there are little ribbons tied to each tree. The ribbons indicate which kind of tree it is – Cortland, McIntosh, Ida, etc. There are also really helpful signs that explain what each type is and it’s use.
Then, you wander around picking apples and tasting all of the different kinds. Make sure to arrive hungry and get all your apple tasting in while we were picking – that’s the best part!
When you’re walking around the orchard one of the other things that kids love to do was climb the trees. One of things that I really love about Elegant Farmer is that they encourage climbing to the top of the trees and having fun. They even put out little ladders for the kids to get up higher. But, as always, climb at your own risk – and watch your kids.
While you’re out picking apples, your kids can help clean up the orchard by picking up 25 ground apples and putting them in the little brown crates. If they pick up 25 then they get awarded by the tractor drivers with a sugar cookie. Most of the kids get very excited about this. It’s a fun little game while picking apples, too.
Then, on to the pumpkin patch.
The pumpkin patch is exactly that — a giant field where you wander around and find your perfect pumpkin. There are pumpkins of all sizes – large, small, and toddler size! I especially love Elegant Farmer because you actually get to walk around the field to find your own – rather than pick one off a table or box. They do have big boxes full of pumpkins at the front entrance, if that’s what you prefer.
Before you leave the pumpkin patch, it’s a must to get a picture on the Elegant Farmer measurement sign. It’s a fun annual tradition so you can see how much your kid has grown from year to year. They paint over the year at the top of the sign so you have a cute memory picture in front of the pumpkin.
Don’t forget to take the picture when you’re up at the pumpkin patch because if you get back to the front entrance there will be a huge line for the other one. The pumpkin patch one never has a line!
A few of the other activities at the Autumn Fest are the corn maze, pony rides and new in 2022 laser tag! And, of course, don’t forget to visit the market inside the famous smiley face barn. The apple pie in a bag is an old-school favorite and the apple cider donuts are absolutely amazing!