With Halloween around the corner, it's time to take advantage of the fall harvest and get your pumpkins and other decorations.
It’s also a great time to enjoy the crisper, cooler weather and have some outdoor fun with the whole family. What better place for all this than a visit to Harvest Valley Farms?
Owned and operated by Art King and his extended family, the farm is located on Sandy Hill Road in Middlesex Township and the retail store is on Route 8 in Richland Township, across from the Sandy Hill intersection.The farm has been in the King family since 1941.
You can make a quick stop at the store and pick up a pumpkin or two, apples, gourds, squash and the mandatory corn husks for fall decorations, but why not make it a field trip and add a hay ride and other seasonal activities? The farm is only a few miles from the store—literally minutes away.
Every Saturday and Sunday in October, there will be numerous activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the whole family.
“We’ve been doing this for over 27 years, so we know what kids like,” King said about the planned events.
Thousands of visitors come to the farm each year for the fall activities. King said he expects a record crowd this year if weather cooperates.
The hayrides are always a family favorite, and they're educational to boot, said King.
“We stop at the pond and talk about what it means to the farm, and I talk about how bees are necessary for a farm.We add all sorts of interesting things,” he said.
Families can pick their own pumpkins at the pumpkin patch or choose from five colors of pumpkins already picked by farm staff.
Five colors of pumpkins?
“We have orange, of course, green, grey, white and striped,” King said.
Younger children can participate in face-painting and explore the straw tunnel, a long tunnel created by bales of hay. The tunnel has a height-restriction, and children are equipped with a flashlight to crawl through it.
The corn maze is another annual favorite, said King, and it's “unlike any other.”
King builds the maze frame while other staff members fill it in by tying plenty of corn stalks to the frame, ensuring lots of coverage and confusion.
It is, after all, a maze.
“I guarantee that you will make some wrong turns,” he said.
This weekend, little visitors also will be able to participate in “Treasure in the Straw” to raise funds for Meals on Wheels.
“Kids donate 75 cents, and then they can crawl through a straw to dig for candy. Of course, they love that one,” he said.
A special feature of visiting the farm will be the 12-foot mummy that King’s son, Dave, constructed along with smaller mummies.
“My wife said that if families wanted to take pictures with preschoolers and the giant mummy, all you would see in the photos would be the legs, so we had to add a few smaller ones,” said King.
There will also be farm animals for viewing, fall harvest for purchasing, pumpkin bowling and live music. A complete listing of events is on their website. Admission is free with fees for individual activities.