Corn picking at the Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, California (about 40 miles / 64 km south of San Francisco) is a fun, family-friendly fall activity!
The farm sits on the ancestral homeland of the Ohlone people, who are active members in the Fremont and greater Bay Area communities today.
Ardenwood is one of few farms in the area where you can pick your own corn (“U-Pick”). The 205-acre farm was part of the former estate of George and Clara Patterson, who farmed the land beginning in the 1850s. Since 1985, it has been operated by the East Bay Regional Park District.
For the price of admission to the Harvest Festival, you get to keep the corn that you pick. Well, most of it: they also ask that you donate a portion of your haul by putting them in the corn cribs. The corn is turned into feed for the animals that live on the farm.
The last time I went to the Harvest Festival in Ardenwood was in 2016 with my family and our friends. There was so much corn then that we were able to take home several bags of bright orange cobs of popcorn and multicolored flint corn.
When we returned this year (2021), it was a little different. There was a big sign at the entrance saying that most of the corn had been picked!
We were told that we could fill our bags with pre-picked corn from the corn cribs or try our luck finding any corn on the stalks. Everything was free for the taking: corn, husks, leaves, and even the stalks! (But we took corn only!)
Unfortunately, California continues to be in a drought and the seemingly smaller crop yield this year (2021) suggests that the farm is experiencing the drought’s limiting effects.
But I could be wrong.
One of the farm volunteers, dressed in Victorian clothing, told us that this year (2021) we wouldn’t need to donate any corn that we picked off the stalks. (Could it be that they had a surplus of corn?) Despite the farm’s generosity, we decided to take home fewer corn than last time! 🌽
… Gotta save some corn for the farm’s animals, like this cutie:
For more information about their annual Harvest Festival, visit the East Bay Regional Park District’s website. 🌽
My favorite season is fall/autumn! 🍂 What activities do you enjoy this time of year? Tell me in the comments below!