Fall on Farms

Sept. 22 may have marked the official end of summer, but just because fall has begun does not mean that everyone should start moving inside. Queens Country Farm Museum is only a short ride down Union Turnpike and a block walk up Little Neck Parkway. At this museum, the arrival of fall means that all the fun can finally start.

The Queens County Farm Museum is a historical landmark, dating back to the year 1697. This farm and museum span more than 47 acres of land and is the only historical farm in New York City. The farm’s mission statement is: “To preserve, restore, and interpret the site. Through educational programs events, museum services, we educate the public as to the significance of Queens County’s agricultural and horticultural past and heighten awareness of present-day agricultural and horticultural practices.”

The farm has been working and providing fresh produce to the Queens area for more than 300 years, but it has only been open to the public since 1975. While the surrounding area and neighborhoods have been built up to accommodate the city’s fast paced lifestyle, this farm is a small picture of what Queens was like 300 years ago. The farm remains dedicated to growing quality, healthy produce without using harsh chemicals.

Instead, they practice habits like crop rotation. The historic farm buildings, greenhouse, vegetable fields, herb garden, orchard and livestock make this a Queens attraction.

Sept. 19 of this year kicked off their 27th Annual Fall Festival. Every Saturday and Sunday until Nov. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., this farm is open to the public. Visitors can enjoy pumpkin picking, hayrides, animal feedings, and the farm’s main attraction, a three acre corn “maize”.

Before visitors begin the walk through this “amazing maize maze” they are given a talk about how the maze works. The farm workers then give participants a piece of paper with numbered boxes and explain that throughout the maze they will find small pieces of paper and tape dispensers. These pieces of paper are the pieces to the puzzle of the map. Some people take their chances and do not bother with the map pieces; they just wander around the maze, trying to find a way out.

The farm also hosts an event called “Maize by the Moonlight,” where the maze is open until 9 p.m., allowing visitors to experience the puzzle at night. “Maize by the Moonlight” happens this year on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17.

Before participants begin, workers clock their cards to measure how long it takes them to finish the maze. Since some people are stuck in the maze longer than they would have hoped, they have people in towers throughout the maze to help. However, these helpers will only give hints if participants play along and say the given farm-friendly phrases that are provided with during the instructions.

If there is one specific day to go, it is Sunday, Oct. 4, the annual Apple Festival. At this festival there are different varieties of fresh apples from upstate New York sold, fresh pressed apple cider is available, and the nation’s biggest apple cobbler is baked right there on the farm. Once people step foot onto the farm, the smell of the apple cobbler is enough to make them stay there all day. The maze, hayrides and pumpkin picking are still open during the festival making it a great day to get outside, enjoy the weather and take advantage of everything that the farm has to offer.

Going to the Queens County Farm Museum is a perfect way to escape for a little while without traveling far or spending a lot of money. Admission into the farm is free, and admission into the corn maze is only $8. All people, old and young, are bound to have a fun time at this local farm museum.

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Floral Park, NY 11004-1129
(718) 347-3276