Autumn in New York State is more than just a brilliant visual of crimson, orange and yellow foliage; it is a season of feasting and celebration. With more than a quarter of the state’s total land area used as farmland, the harvest produces a bounty of fruits, vegetables, dairy, cheese and wine. What follows, of course, is a season of fresh eating and fine dining across the state. Below, we take you on a delicious fall tour of New York.
Photo Courtesy of Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest
NY's wine-and-dine harvest seasons kicks off in September with the grape harvest — always a great cause for celebration, especially for wine lovers. The Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival starts the festivities from September 7-8 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, providing the perfect weekend retreat for New York City dwellers. For residents living further upstate, the September Saratoga Wine and Food Festival held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, launches during the same weekend.
Photo Courtesy of Corning's Gaffer District
The year’s top celebration, however, will be the Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, held September 20-21 at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls, the epicenter of NY’s wine region. The 17th annual Jazz & Harvest Festival will also be held September 20 in Corning’s Gaffer District where visitors can sample local wines and craft beers while enjoying live jazz and blues performances.
Photo Courtesy of Finn Partners
Autumn is also the season for another one of locals’ favorite beverages—cider. In the Hudson Valley, Hurds Family Farm in Modena welcomes apple-picking visitors to make their own cider and explore a four-acre maze at the popular Warwick Applefest on October 6. In the Finger Lakes, two festivals, the annual Wayne County Apple Tasting Tour (October 11-14) and the LaFayette Apple Festival, (October 12-13) teaches visitors to identify apple varieties by taste, texture and scent while celebrating the harvest with apple related games, drinks and foods. For residents of Central New York, CiderFest is held October 12-13 at the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard where visitors can taste sweet cider made on the mill’s 1889 water-powered press.
Photo Courtesy of Hanks Pumpkin Town
By the time October rolls around, all New Yorkers have one thing on their minds: pumpkins. However, the bright orange fruits aren’t just for carving! Fans can taste pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin bagels and even pumpkin-spiced cocktails at a series of events held throughout the state that month.
At Hanks Pumpkintown on Long Island and the Pick’n Patch in Stanley, visitors can pluck pumpkins from the vine and enjoy related activities for both adults and children. The Great Pumpkin Farm located in Clarence, in the Greater Niagara region, comes alive with pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making and pie eating contests every weekend. And at the CNY Great Pumpkin Festival in Oswego from October 5-6, locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate the season with music, scarecrow building, pumpkin-carving lessons, ghost stories and other farm-related fun.
Photo Courtesy of The Oyster Festival LI
Of course fall feasting isn’t just limited to the usual suspects. On Long Island, all things oyster will be celebrated at the annual waterfront Oyster Festival October 19-20 in Oyster Bay. In the Adirondack, the annual Cream Cheese Festival kicks off September 21 in Lowville, the home of the world’s largest cream cheese manufacturing plant. Those who prefer a history lesson with their food fair can learn to play Native American and Colonial games at The Crailo State Historic Site Harvest Fair, September 14 in Rensselaer, an old-fashioned agricultural festival complete with period re-enactors that harkens back to the Colonial Era.
Whatever your location, fall festivities are brewing and delightful aromas of ciders, pumpkins and wines will soon be drifting your way. Hope you’re hungry.