Cleveland could learn a lot from the local food movement. You don't save just gas by shopping for produce grown close to home: You also get a fresher, more nutritious product. Buying from small Ohio farms is supporting small local business. It also introduces you to a variety of food that might not be on your radar at the local supermarket.
Same goes for music, theater, our favorite sports teams, the art scene and more — especially in the fall. This is the season when theater companies get back onstage after their summer break, orchestras go back to the concert halls, the galleries get busy and the Browns do whatever it is that they do. It's harvest time: time to reap what Northeast Ohio's culture has sown. On the following pages you'll find our previews and picks of things to do around town — from the arts to sports to fall festivals.
To start things off, some picking and grinning.
BLUE JAY ORCHARD
17909 Rapids Rd, Hiram, 440.834.4318
As far as the owners can tell, Blue Jay Orchard is the longest-running pick-your own orchard in Ohio, having allowed folks to pluck apples from their trees since 1948 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 26 through Halloween). They have both new and classic varieties, including Mollies Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, Ozark Gold, Gala, Macoun, Empire and Winesap. They also offer cider. Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
6313 Pioneer Trail, Hiram, 330.569.7464
The former Pioneer Trail Orchard changed its name a few years ago but continues to offer 23 varieties of apples (you can pick them yourself on weekends through October), plus Bartlett pears, red raspberries and cider pressed on site. On September 26 and October 3, they'll also have wagon rides and a farm-animal petting zoo with free admission. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
PATTERSON FRUIT FARM
11414 Caves Rd., Chesterland, 440.729.9809
Family-owned and -operated since the early 1800s (now with seventh-generation kids starting to work on the farm), Patterson offers more than 20 varieties of apples with pick-your-own option when varieties are ripe. On the weekends, they'll even give you a ride on a wagon. Hours: Weekdays, 2-6 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
50336 Telegraph Rd., Amherst, 440.965.8884
This fourth-generation apple farm has an activity barn with a crate maze, animals and pick-your-own pumpkins and apples. Among the 19 varieties of apples you'll find are McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Empire, Golden Delicious, Melrose, Mutsu, Winesap and Granny Smith. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
GROBE FRUIT FARM
43875 Telegraph Rd, Elyria, 440.322.8312
Grobe's doesn't have a pick-your-own option, but it sells 20 varieties of apples, presses its own cider and offers potatoes, corn and other vegetables grown on the farm at its fruit stand. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, through Halloween.
8690 Vermilion Road, Amherst, 440.988.8405
Family owned since the mid-1800s, Miller Orchards offers 15 varieties of pick-your-own apples as they ripen, plus dozens of others. Hours: Mon-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
6161 Middle Ridge Road, Lorain, 440.233.6083
A family-run farm market offering fresh produce including apples, peaches and pears grown on the family's farm, plus fresh cider. Hours: Daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (7 p.m. on Fridays).
Beckwith Orchards, Bakery
and Gift Shop
1617 Lake Rockwell Rd., Kent, 330.673.6433
Stroll the orchards and check out 25 varieties of apples, including favorites like Honey Crisp, Melrose, Jonagold, McIntosh, Cortland, Northern Spies and Winesap. Beckwith presents its fall festival October 10 and 11, featuring the folk and bluegrass ensemble Fish Creek, plus samples of everything grown there. Fresh pies will be available. Guided tours for schools and any group of 15 or more. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
8468 Wooster Pike Rd., Seville, 330.769.3276
Great views from the hilly terrain south of Medina mark this orchard and shop, which offers 20 varieties of apples, cider pressed on site, pumpkins, canned goods processed on site, local honey and — when the season is right — maple syrup. On October weekends you can pick your own apples or take a hayride through the orchard. Hours: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.
HILLSIDE ORCHARD AND
2397 Center Road, Hinckley, 330.225.4748
Hillside has 19 varieties of apples, and you can pick your own (depending on what's ripe) weekends until October 12, and then daily through Halloween. The Fall Harvest Festival (Oct. 10-11) has plenty of kids' activities, including inflatable bouncy rooms, games, hayrides, tours and alpacas to pet. If you go on a weekend late in October, you can also pick your own pumpkins. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m.
294 Pearl Rd, Brunswick, 330.225.5577
A favorite for Cleveland families for both proximity and catering to kids, Mapleside offers 20 varieties of apples, plus peaches, corn and other veggies. The cider is made from the farm's own apples (but it's sent elsewhere for pressing). Mapleside has a festival of some kind every weekend through October, beginning with a Johnny Appleseed Fest (Sept. 19-20) that will feature 80 crafters selling their wares, plus horse-drawn-wagon rides, a corn maze, bands, dance groups, pony rides, bag-your-own (not pick-your-own) apples and apple-butter-making demonstrations. Admission: Adults $3, ages 7-12 $1, 6 and under free. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10-6 p.m.