The Fall Harvest Festival is under way at the Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard in Fort Washington. You can pick apples or pumpkins, go on a hayride, take a tour of more than 500 scarecrows or bring children to see the farm animals between now and October 31, when the festival ends.
For the apple pickers in the crowd, the fruit is within arm's reach since the trees are bending over with their fruit. Rome, Golden Delicious, Stayman, Winesap and Fuji apples are grown here but you might want to call ahead to find out what is still available for picking. And make sure you wear your boots if it's been raining, it can get muddy in the orchard.
If you prefer just to buy the apples you can do that at the farm market, a little red building set in the middle of this 120-acre property. The market also sells apple breads, apple cobblers, apple turnovers, caramel apples and homemade cider. Apple pie ice cream--made at the farm--is also available. Or you can load up on other fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies and other homemade breads and pies.
Cherry Hill is also known for its doughnuts. Cakey and delicious, these come in a variety of flavors including blueberry cream, double chocolate and, of course, pumpkin and cinnamon apple.
The Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard was bought by the Gallahan family shortly after the Civil War and has remained in the family ever since. Emma Gallahan is the 100-year-old matriarch but now has her son, Alton, run the farm along with his two sons, Mike and Danny. Mike does the baking with his wife, Susan, and Danny works the farm with his dad.
The Gallahans have been organizing the Fall Harvest Festival for 20 years, with a special emphasis on schoolchildren. There is plenty of room for children to run and lots of straw for them to jump into. There are mazes, slides and tunnels and a nature trail. And when they are finished with all that, they can pick out a pumpkin at the Great Pumpkin Patch. Live entertainment, including clowns, magic shows and pumpkin carvers, is available on the weekends during the festival.
So put on some old clothes, load the children in the car and spend a day at the Cherry Hill Farm.
Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard, 12309 Gallahan Rd., Ft. Washington, Md.; call 301-292-4642. Visit their Web site at www.cherryhillfarm.com. Admission: $4.50 per person (adults and children) on weekdays, Oct. 18-29; $5.50 per person on weekends.
CAPTION: There's lots for children to do at the Fall Harvest Festival at Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard: Cailin Woodruff, 2 1/2, samples the apple pie ice cream and, below, a multitude of scarecrows adorn the strawberry fields.