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Finding fall family fun on the North Fork

It’s harvest time on the North Fork, and there is a cornucopia of things to do for families, shoppers and couples. The season’s bounty includes festivals at farm stands and special events at wineries — you can “pit shop” for seasonal goodies like fresh-baked pies, fresh produce, hard cider and goat cheese. There’s also agritainment experiences to keep the kids away from their smartphones. 

Here are some must-dos for a day trip to the North Fork. 

Stop at a farm stand

Bring a shopping bag to fill with fresh
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Bring a shopping bag to fill with fresh produce and an item you might not expect to find this far east on the Island -- ever-so-trendy goat cheese. Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic specializes in creamy chevre, made with milk from the on-site goat herd and flavored with garlic, herbs, peaches or hot pepper jelly. (631-765-8042, catapanodairyfarm.com).

UNDER THE RADAR: For bucolic peace and quiet, head east to Sep’s Farm in East Marion, where locally grown fruits and vegetables have been sold for six decades from a rustic roadside stand by the farmhouse. (631-477-1583,cqw/website/lii sepsfarm.com)

Harbes Family Farms, Mattituck and Jamesport

Expect crowds at roadside stands run by Harbes
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Expect crowds at roadside stands run by Harbes Family Farms in Mattituck and Jamesport — they’re lining up for sweet-roasted corn dipped in butter, candy and caramel apples (631-388-7093, harbesfamilyfarm.com).

In the photo: Khary Williams Jr., 4, of Huntington Station, takes a bite of roasted corn at Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck.

Check out a farm

Dean Tristan Belmonte, 10, left, of East Moriches,
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Picking pumpkins and petting farm animals are just the start of it — many North Fork farms are running agriculture-entertainment centers filled with hands-on kid activities, including hayrides and corn mazes. Among the largest (and most crowded) is the Harbes’ Barnyard Adventure in Mattituck, where there are pig races and games like the newer Jumbo Jumpers — giant trampoline-like pillows for people of all ages to bounce on. ($19.95 to $23.95 weekends; $10.95 weekdays; harbesfamilyfarm/barnyard)

Under the radar: Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market

In Riverhead look for Garden of Eve Organic
Photo Credit: Veronique Louis

In Riverhead look for Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market, which also has a pay-one-price backyard in which kids can climb a 25-foot towering stack of hay bales, shoot a corn cannon and otherwise play outdoors for quite a while. ($5 admission includes a hay ride; 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com

In the photo: Henry Pepe, 6 of Brooklyn, feeds one of the goats at the Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market in Mattituck.

Visit a winery

Long Island Wine Country has grown exponentially since
Photo Credit: Veronique Louis

Long Island Wine Country has grown exponentially since the first vines were planted in the 1970s, and nowadays there are more than three dozen winery tasting rooms. On weekends, a new, guided, family-friendly tractor ride goes through the 200-acre grape vineyards at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead ($5 adults, $3 kids; 631-298-0075, marthaclaravineyards.com

 In the photo: Riding through the Martha Clara Vineyards are, from front left, Jackson Smith, 10, Christina Smith, Ava Romana Smith, 4, and Billy Smith, of Wantagh. In back is Harrison Gredick, 9, of Irvington, New York. The guide for this tour is Christie Cockayne. 

Or try hard cider

Hard cider is coming into its own. Come
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Hard cider is coming into its own. Come fall, you can settle into an Adirondack chair and bite into cider doughnuts or sip hard cider around the fire pits at Woodside Orchards, a working family farm in Aquebogue (631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com). 

In the photo: The Elderly Brothers and Co. entertain the sider sippers and doughnut munchers at Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue.

Under the radar: Kontokosta Winery, Greenport

One of the North Fork's newer wineries is
Photo Credit: Nicole Horton

One of the North Fork’s newer wineries is also an outlier, given its location outside Greenport Village. Kontokosta Winery is perched right on the Long Island Sound — take your glass of wine out to the bluffs overlooking the water or stay inside the upscale tasting room. (631-477-6977, kontokostawinery.com)  

Get a pie

North Fork fresh fruit pies are baked the
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

North Fork fresh fruit pies are baked the old-fashioned way, crusty and bulging with fruit grown on local farms. At the tiny roadside bake shop of Briermere Farms in Riverhead (pictured), there’s usually a line outside for its famously flaky seasonal pies, including pumpkin, pear and cranberry pear. (631-722-3931, briermere.com

UNDER THE RADAR Apple, apple crumb and strawberry rhubarb are among the seasonal flavors at Hallock’s Cider Mill in Laurel. (631-298-1140) Coconut custard, pecan and pumpkin join the two dozen flavors at the small, family-owned Country View Farm Stand in Southold. (631-903-1335) 

Stroll a small town

You can't miss Mattituck, with it's walkable Love
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

You can’t miss Mattituck, with it’s walkable Love Lane lined with charming food shops and boutiques. Greenport is booming these days with trendier restaurants and modern shops perched around the village’s Harborfront Park, where an antique carousel invites riders to grab for the brass ring. 

Under the radar: Jamesport

It's easy to whiz right through Jamesport, a
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

It’s easy to whiz right through Jamesport, a hamlet on Route 25. The quirky, cluttered Jamesport Country Store, in business for 46 years, sells retro candy, antique glass and vintage gifts. Get a country breakfast of buttermilk biscuits filled with house-made honey, chives or marmalade butter at the Main Road Biscuit Co. A four-biscuit sampler for the road costs $10. (631-779-3463, mainroadbiscuitco.com

In the photo: At carry-out counter at Main Road Biscuit Co. 

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