By Terry Duffy
Fantastic fall weather has been blessing us for weeks. Farm harvest time is peaking, and those visits to area farms in search of such fall items as pumpkins, apples, ciders and assorted Halloween goodies have never been better.
Of course, there are many farm operations in Buffalo-Niagara that offer this experience, but most are limited to weekend visits, require a reservation, and may even charge admission.
And then there’s Baker Farm Market & U Pick. An apple u-pick and seasonal farm operation located at 2100 Youngstown Lockport Road, this one has it all. As in, fresh fall vegetable harvests, mums, tons of apples, pumpkins, Halloween selections, farm wagon rides, and cider. Best thing: The site is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, and no reservations are required.
Gloria Baker, who operates Barker Farm & U Pick with her husband, Jeff, invites visitors from WNY and nearby Canada to make the trip out to Ransomville and discover what this three-generation family farm has to offer.
“A lot of people are finding us, because, basically, we are the only orchard that’s open during the week,” she said. “We’re actually filled up with school trips – we have one tomorrow – and starting next Tuesday, we have them straight through the month. We have Lew-Port, Niagara Falls schools, Kenmore schools. They’re all here. We get a lot of repeat trips.
“Weekends have been little crazy too,” she added.
Baker said, “We got a lot of apples; the apples grew, it was a great season for Plentiful apples. But it’s kind of weird, the way the summer was. Some varieties are earlier; some varieties are later than normal.”
Apples photo courtesy of Baker Farm and U Pick.
For those in search of fall harvest favorites and Halloween fare, Baker said this farm, like many others, did contend with weather and growing issues over the past season, but things are full-steam-ahead for fall.
“We don’t have our U-pick pumpkins this year, but we’re bringing pumpkins from our other patch over,” Baker said.
She added, “The mums are going quick, and we’ve got some good prices on those, too.”
“We’ll have a lot of pumpkins, a lot of gourds,” Baker said. “We also have pretty much anything that people want to decorate, with the straw bales, the corn stalks; we’re going to get some Indian corn in. And then we pick vegetables daily, whatever is ripe out there we’ll have.
“A big seller is our cider. It’s fresh-pressed from Roberts out in Medina – they’ve done it for us for years. This past weekend we sold out.
She said autumn visits to this farm, located in the heart of Niagara County’s produce region, are immensely popular with residents from near and far. In fact, “it’s tradition to come this (holiday) weekend. Families come every year, and the kids get older, and sometimes they bring their kids; they make their fun.”
The farm will be open throughout the weekend, including during the early Sunday morning Bills-Jags game in London. “We usually put the game on; we have an apple hut that’s open,” Baker said.
Visitors also will find plenty ‘o pumpkins for the taking, wagon tours throughout the scenic orchards, apples and, of course, cider.
“We’ll have hot cider by the glass this weekend. We’ll have some spices in it; you have to check it out,” Baker said.
Baker Farm and U Pick is on Facebook and online at www.bakerfarmmarket.com.
“We’re a third-generation family, and we want people to know that this is the place to come and pick apples,” she said. “We have all kinds of families that visit. We don’t require reservations, and we don’t make them (bring) bags out there for picking. It’s economical to visit with us.”