Fall means colorful leaves crunching under foot, warm apple pies and spooky, carved pumpkins. Fortunately, whether you’re interested in one or all three of the above things, one of the best places to find them is at a local orchard.
And you’re in luck because our region has lots of great places to find that perfectly shaped pumpkin or ripe, juicy apples all while walking on leaves and, in some cases, taking a ride over some hay.
For those who aren’t sure where to begin, I put together this list for you of a few local places and some of the fun they provide.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch
20 miles west of Omaha is Vala’s Pumpkin Patch where you can find the perfect pumpkin for carving and a whole lot more. Vala’s offers a couple of mazes, hayrack rides, spooky attractions and a train ride.
Younger visitors will enjoy the opportunity to build a scarecrow, make s’mores and pet the animals. Paintball, live entertainment and gemstone mining round out some of the more grown-up fun.
Vala’s is a place where you can spend an afternoon or a whole day. They are open every day through Halloween.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch – 12102 S. 180th Street, Gretna, 402.332.4200
Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Ranch
Family-owned for more than 30 years, Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Ranch boasts a variety of produce you can pick yourself including three different varieties of raspberries: purple, red and black. Right now they are harvesting sweet corn and offer that for sale in their shop.
Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Ranch has a ghost town, mines and caves for kids to explore as well as their Ranch of Terror haunted house. Other attractions include zip lines, slides and a pirate’s swing.
If you want to find that perfect pumpkin, hop on board the hayrack ride through the Berry Farm’s spooky forest. Their pumpkins are priced by size rather than weight! The fun continues through November 1st.
Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Ranch, 11001 S. 48th Street, Papillion, 402.331.5500
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard
If you decide you want to make a day of it, take a ride out to Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard. You have the option to enjoy pre-picked apples, including Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathan and Jonagold or pick your own apples. Frozen, pitted cherries are also offered. Or select your own pumpkin for Halloween.
The best part of a visit to Kimmel Orchard is that you can also take advantage of the vineyards and nab yourself a bottle of white, red or fruit wine for a fall evening in front of the fireplace. Wine tastings are available if you’re not sure what type of spirits you want.
Don’t spend all day in the kitchen – just say you did! Kimmel Orchard sells caramel apples, fresh apple cider and homemade apple pies.
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard, 5995 G Road, Nebraska City, 402.873.5293
Trees, Shrubs & More
Located in Bellevue, Trees, Shrubs & More has an orchard. The focus of their orchard is offering you the opportunity to pick your own fresh fruit. Trees, Shrubs & More gives visitors the choice of many “juicy, crisp, tree-ripened fruits,” like apples, pears, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries and plums.
And if you don’t feel like doing it yourself but still want to enjoy the fresh fruit, they also offer pre-picked options in their shop.
Orchard tours are available by appointment and include fruit samplings. Some tours highlight how to make apple cider with a hand crank and these also include a tasting.
Trees, Shrubs & More – 3803 Cornhusker Road, Bellevue, 402.291.9374
Wherever you choose to go, this is a great time of year to enjoy that last bit of nice weather before the dreaded white stuff begins to fall. Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, take advantage of a local orchard this fall and get back to nature.