17 Fun & Special Farms in Upstate New York to Visit

New York State has hundreds of small farms. They operate as animal sanctuaries, educational centers, wholesale and/or local growers and producers, and more. You will be able to find a farm in Upstate New York that suits the vibes you want for the day. Do you want to hang out with llamas? Done. Maybe you want to learn about agriculture in New York State or the racism prevalent in that exact system? You can do that. Or do you want to drink a locally made apple cider and eat some blueberries that you just picked with your bare hands? New York farms have got you covered.  

17 FARMS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK TO VISIT

Soul Fire Farm

Unsurprisingly, the food system in the United States is systemically racist – on every part of the journey, from how, where, and who grows produce to what is sold and where at what price. Food sovereignty is also a woefully rarely discussed topic about the right of Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians to grow their own traditional foods on their own land. Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous-centered community farm seeking to change that.

Food is important to culture and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that when everything feels like it’s at our fingertips in a supermarket, whether it’s out of season or locally produced. Soul Fire Farm does a myriad of amazing things: farmer training for Black and Brown growers, doorstep harvest delivery for food insecure households, and more. If you want to learn more about their initiatives, they have limited tours during the farming season. In 2022, the season is June – October. You can book a tour through their website for either a virtual or in-person experience. It’s one of the most unique and interesting things to do in Upstate New York.

Clover Brooke Farm

Llamas and alpacas are so fluffy and funny-looking that the rise in llama- and alpaca-related activities have sharply risen in recent years. If you are seeking to get some llama and alpaca time, then book an experience with Clover Brooke Farm in Hyde Park. If you’re not interested in the Camelids gang, then there are options available to get to know the various farm animals. There is even an option to hang out with baby goats, baby lambs, and baby llamas if you’re keen on something very very small to cuddle.

If you book the hike llama/alpaca hike experience, hike is a loosely used term here. It’s more of a meandering, smelling the flowers, kind of walk. You go at the llamas’ and alpacas’ pace. You can book an experience at Clover Brooke Farm here. It’s one of the coolest experiences to do at a farm in Upstate New York!

John Brown Farm

This National Historic Landmark was the home of the revolutionary and abolitionist John Brown. Come to the John Brown Farm to learn about the central figures and history of abolitionism in this region. The Timbuktu permanent exhibit was beautiful and informative. You can get a tour of his home every hour. Admission is free.

Bonus: One of our favorite hikes in the Adirondacks starts here, too.

Asgaard Farm & Dairy

The Nordic gods don’t just dwell in Asgaard. A lot of goats do too! If you want to check out the northern counties in New York state for the weekend, make sure to stop at Aasgard Farm & Dairy in Au Sable Forks. It’s just outside of the Adirondacks, so there is drop-dead gorgeous scenery. Aasgard Farm & Dairy is the former home of artist, writer, adventurer, and political activist Rockwell Kent. The farm is now on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

If you just want to visit a beautiful farm and shop the farmstand, check the website for days and times the farm is open. They sell goat-based products, including cheese and caramel, as well as other products from the farm like forest-raised pork and locally crafted artisanal products. You can also stay at the Emerson House overnight. It’s a picturesque red farmhouse on Asgaard’s property. There’s a screened-in porch where you can sit, bug-free, and watch some goats. (If you do not understand the pure bliss and delirious joy of sitting on a screened-in porch in the summer, then you will after you spend the night here.)

Wayward Animal Ranch Sanctuary

Potbelly pigs are some of the cutest, snuggliest (yes, it’s a word) animals in the world. This is not an opinion. It is a fact. At Wayward Animal Ranch Sanctuary, there are tons of farm animals for you to meet. There are horses, goats, sheep, dogs, and more. The stars of the show are the pot belly pigs at the farm. You can take a tour and cuddle the snorting little fellows (some aren’t very little). The staff at Wayward Animal Ranch Sanctuary are very passionate about the pigs and will teach you all about Potbelly pigs.

Wayward Animal Ranch Sanctuary is in Kerhonkson, close to Minnewaska State Park and New Paltz so you could spend an entire weekend exploring the Hudson Valley. It’s a beautiful area in the region with small farms, apple orchards, and tons of paths that you can hike, bike, or leisurely stroll.

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

Goats have a bad rep. They can be grumpy and feisty. Honestly, isn’t that all of us sometimes? Goats can also be sweet-natured and affectionate. At Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, you can hang out with rescued goats and hear all about their backgrounds. There are tons of other animals at the sanctuary, including cows, bunnies, a singular llama, and more. They have some of the best names for their animals – Maximus the cow! Cher and Dionne the turkeys!

You can book a hiking tour with Woodstock Farm Sanctuary here. They usually have tours during the spring-fall. The sanctuary isn’t in Woodstock proper though. It’s actually about 20 miles away from its namesake so keep that in mind if you’re looking to combine a trip to Woodstock the town with Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

Finger Lakes Cider House at Good Life Farm

If you’re all wine-d out and want to try something else in the Finger Lakes region, then visit Finger Lakes Cider House. It’s on the western shores of Cayuga Lake, a little north of Ithaca so it’s the perfect addition to your Ithaca trip. Good Life Farm is an organic farm where you can pick strawberries (usually in season during June or July), peaches (usually in season July-August), and apples (usually in season September-November). Thanks to that villainous thing called climate change, seasons can change drastically every year so keep an eye on the website.

The real draw is the Cider House. They have over a dozen various homemade cider options on hand. If you’re feeling indecisive (I often am in these circumstances), then order a flight. You will not be disappointed. There are a couple of non-alcoholic and liquor options as well. Make sure to order some food as well. We LOVE the cornbread! Everything on the food and drinks menu is delicious so you can’t go wrong here. Make sure to check out our recommendations on where to stay in the area after you’re full of apples and cheese!

Lavenlair Farm

Caitlin Ferrante

Whenever I come across those beautiful pictures of lavender fields in France on my Instagram feed, I feel some deep pangs of jealousy. No more. Now, I can go to Lavenlair Farm in the Adirondacks, plop on a floppy hat, quickly change into a flowing dress, and snap away while I sniff some lavender. You can’t just roll up to Lavenlair Farm willy-nilly so keep that in mind. You need to either book a tour or a U-pick session ahead of time. Plus, the farm only does both during the blooming season every year. This usually takes place around summer-fall but keep an eye on the website as the season changes every year. Go spread those arms out wide and live those lavender field dreams.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a bit of a celebrity in the farm world thanks to one of its founders/owners Chef Dan Barber. He was featured in the very first season of Chef’s Table on Netflix for the restaurant Blue Hill in Greenwich Village and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a unique place. Not only is it a working farm, but it’s also an agricultural and food educational center, as well as a restaurant and café.

At the restaurant, there is usually a different Chef in Residence every few weeks, and it’s typically a long multiple-course tasting menu, so check out the website before making a reservation. It’s also expensive. If you’re not flush with cash and you still want to learn more about Blue Hill, there are now a few other options. You can explore the farm at your pace and only pay for parking on the weekends. There is a cafeteria (separate from the restaurant) that does breakfast, no reservations, Wednesday-Sunday, or you can pay to do a tour, a tasting, a cooking class, etc. The sky is the limit here.

If you’re interested in learning about food science, Blue Hill is worth the price of a ticket for a tour. They are doing innovative work on seed breeding, edible landscaping, and more. It’s a fascinating place.

Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen

Head to the Finger Lakes region for the wine and stay for the farm animals at Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary has a remarkable history as the founding farm animal sanctuary in the U.S. They have locations in Los Angeles and Watkins Glen. In Watkins Glen, the sanctuary covers 275 acres and has 600+ rescue animals. There are chickens, cows, sheep, goats, and more.

To visit the sanctuary, you can book a tour or stay in one of their cottages or cabins on the premises. Whatever you choose, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the Upstate New York farm experience, hang out with some rescued farm animals, and learn about Farm Sanctuary’s various missions to combat factory farming and more.

Greig Farm

If you want a farm visit that covers ALL the bases, then head to Greig Farm in Red Hook. You can do some fruit and veggie picking, hang out with some goats, go on a walk, check out the farmstand, and eat at the café. Like all the other farms on this list, make sure to check the website before you go about what’s in season and available to pick. Dominican Abroad swears by the blueberries here – so if you’re visiting during blueberry season, you WILL walk away happy.

You don’t have to pay to walk the trails on Greig Farm. You can even walk around the farm when there is nothing in season to pick. The trails are beautiful with stunning views of the Catskill Mountains far to the west on a clear day. In addition, the SoHu (South of Hudson) artisanal market has some great unique locally made crafts. If you’re hungry or thirsty, there is a market & café, a cider taproom that harvests “abandoned” apples across the area that’s housed in the lower level of a barn, and an airstream that sells sandwiches. You’ll be please no matter what you choose.  

Indian Ladder Farms

@hans.lifestyleee

Indian Ladder Farms in the Capital Region is the perfect farm in Upstate New York to visit for the day if you want to spend the whole day basking in the outdoors. You can pick your own raspberries (red and black!), blueberries, plums, apples, and pumpkins depending on the time of year. The farm market is open from spring-late fall and sells the farm’s produce, as well as some other items from neighboring farms, and baked goods. Indian Ladder Farms also has a beehive so sells honey from its own bees.

There are tons of options for food and drink. A tasting room and Biergarten that’s open every day of the week typically has 6-12 apple cider and brews made at Indian Ladder Farms on tap. A café with delicious soup and sandwiches is available if you’re looking for something more casual. The Biergarten even has propane heaters and woodstoves in the colder months so don’t worry about being comfortable if it’s later in the year. Indian Ladder Farms is the perfect visit if you’re looking for a New York State farm experience.

Wright’s Farm

Wright’s Farm feels like home to me. It could be because I grew up 10 minutes away and went to high school down the road from the farm. The farm stand is open year-round so you can pop in and buy freshly baked cookies (I swear by the chocolate chip, but my mom swears by the oatmeal), jam made from the farm’s produce (strawberry rhubarb is the best), and other local products and produce whenever you want. Depending on the season, you can pick your own apples, pumpkins, and cherries.

My favorite thing about Wright’s Farm is the addition of Gardiner Brewing Company in the back barn a few years ago. After you have picked some cherries and shopped the farmstand for more produce and goodies, settle in at Gardiner Brewing Company. It’s only open on the weekends and from spring-fall. Every beer and cider on tap is either made on-site or is from New York State. The wines and liquors are also New York State-made. In addition, in the cocktails, they use syrups made from their own produce. There are some snacks to order also. Typically, there’s a band playing music. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon.

I personally believe these are the best apple cider donuts in the Hudson Valley. Similar to how some people feel about what counts as Upstate New York, is how I feel about apple cider donuts. Some people think they should be cake-like; others think they should be lighter. I will let you decide what farm in Upstate New York has the best apple cider donut, but please know you are wrong unless you also pick Wright’s Farm.

Twin Star Orchards

Twin Star Orchards

Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz is a cider lover’s paradise. Everyone who likes apple cider should make the pilgrimage to Twin Star Orchards. It’s the home of Brooklyn Cider House, so if you visited Brooklyn Cider House in Brooklyn before it closed, this is now the place to visit. Twin Star Orchards has acres of apple orchards that you can walk through, pick your own apples, or just take tons of pictures while you drink your apple cider.

It’s only open Friday – Sunday. You can get drinks and food at Twin Star. My favorite thing to order is one of their wood-fired pizzas, but they also have burgers. You can do a tasting in the barn with the market if you aren’t sure what cider you want to drink. They sell big bottles for the group to share, as well as individual cans depending on the batch. Spending the day at Twin Star Orchards is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday on a farm in New York State.

DuBois Farms

DuBois Farms in Highland is the perfect place to spend a Saturday. You can pick your own fruits and vegetables, depending on the season, including strawberries, apples, and more. I definitely recommend picking your own strawberries at least once in your life. Often, you eat a little while you go and freshly picked strawberries are so sweet. DuBois Farms also has a market, café, and bakery where you can eat desserts like the requisite apple cider donuts necessary for a true Upstate New York farm experience.

Dubois Farms recently opened a pizzeria and ice cream shop as well. They also have a winery and brewery that opens in June featuring local wines, hard cider, and craft beer. There’s a special Kolsch beer with an apple taste that DuBois Farms made itself on offer as well. There’s even a corn maze at the farm! Plan on spending the whole day here, drinking, eating, walking, and picking fruits and veggies.

Stony Kill Farm

Stony Kill Farm is an environmental education center in Wappingers Falls. It’s owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. If you’re interested in learning about New York agriculture, then visit Stony Kill Farm and do an Open Barn tour. It’s only open from 11:00 – 1:00 on weekends from February to November, but every year it changes a little so check the website. It’s a free tour.

You could also just visit and wander around the public trails on the property. If you want to see some farm animals, be outside, and just wander to your heart’s content throughout farmland, then this is perfect. Wappingers Falls is just north of Beacon, so when you get hungry, head to one of the best towns in the Hudson Valley for a meal before you go home.

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