Fall in Florida may not boast vibrant foliage and crisp cool air, but it does bring a bountiful harvest of fresh-from-the-farm produce and plenty of seasonal fun that’s sure to spark those fall feelings. One of the best ways to enjoy autumn in the Sunshine State is trip along Jackson County’s Agritourism Trail, which is teeming with local farms and purveyors that offer unique experiences and homegrown goods. From farmers markets and scenic drives to corn mazes and seasonal festivals, Jackson County’s rich agricultural roots offer plenty of ways to enjoy an authentic fall season in Florida.
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Find Your Way Through a Corn Maze
Fall simply isn’t complete without getting lost in a corn maze and the folks at The Lazy Acres Family Farm in Marianna create a puzzling path every October for some seasonal fun. Packed with twists and turns and towering corn stalks, it’s a fun yet challenging experience for everyone in the family. If you make it out of the corn maze, be sure to take a hayride on the farm or check out other games and activities for your family to enjoy. Be sure to stop by the concession stand too and grab some boiled peanuts, popcorn or candy.
Pick the Perfect Pumpkin from the Patch
Carve out some time this season to visit the annual Pumpkins in the Park event on Oct. 19 at the Madison Street Park in Marianna, the same location as the popular Marianna City Farmers Market. More than 1,000 pumpkins are available for picking at this annual autumn celebration, where children can find that perfect pumpkin and show off their decorating skills. There’s also a bounce house and games for the kids to enjoy, along with live entertainment and cooking demonstrations making it a fun fall festivity the whole family can enjoy.
Pick Your Own Produce at U-pick Farms
Local u-pick farms promise tasty produce and old-fashioned fun, and picking your own produce is a great way to bring fresh food to your table. Jackson County is dotted with farms and vineyards that offer u-pick throughout the year, and several are ripe for the picking during the fall season. In early autumn, stop by Fox Hollow Vineyards in Sneads, Fla., for muscadine grapes fresh from the vine. While you’re there, be sure to try the jellies and preserves made from Fox Hollow’s grapes, pomegranates and figs, or pick up a winemaking kit to bring home with you. Fall is also the perfect time to harvest fresh olives and Green Gate Olive Grove in Alford offers u-pick as well as tours and tastings. Meanwhile, Jackson Farm in Grand Ridge is a popular spot for a fun day on the farm where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables like vine-ripened tomatoes, crunchy peppers, snap beans and more.
Annual Autumn Fun at Fall Festivals
Celebrate the season with a trip to one of Jackson County’s fall festivals. From live entertainment and crafts displays to car shows and tractor pulls, these seasonal events highlight the rich heritage and importance of agriculture in Jackson County. In October, the region will host the 38th annual Graceville Harvest Festival featuring arts, crafts, food vendors, activities for children, live entertainment and a car show with more than 200 classic cars on display. The Harvest Festival Parade marches through downtown Graceville to help kick off the event and admission to this annual event is free, making it an affordable outing for the family. In November, the 46th annual Jackson County Farm City Festival will honor the area’s agricultural roots. This two-day event is a fun and festive weekend for the whole family with tractor pulls, lawn mower pulls, arts and crafts, food vendors, activities for kids, and pioneer demonstrations like grits milling and iron forging.
Visit the Satsuma Capital of the World
Satsumas are a tangy and sweet citrus grown in the heart of Jackson County, which was known as the Satsuma Capital of the World in the 1920s. Plan a visit in November during the peak of satsuma season for a taste of this fresh, hand-picked citrus that made Jackson County famous. Bar L Citrus in Marianna harvests these old-fashioned tangerines by hand and ships boxes of 25-50 satsumas across the U.S. Cherokee Satsumas, another family-owned and operated farm in Marianna, offers delicious satsumas as well as satsuma jelly and syrup. For that old-Florida feel this fall, Scott Farms operates a roadside citrus stand on Highway 231 in Cottondale with satsumas sold by the bag or box.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Get your pumpkin spice fix this fall in a big scoop of old-fashioned ice cream in Jackson County. Locals and visitors can get a taste of fall from two creameries that offer a seasonal sweet treat. Southern Craft Creamery in downtown Marianna serves up handcrafted ice cream made with non-homogenized milk from its family farm. Each scoop features fresh ingredients from local farms and purveyors to create signature flavors, as well as seasonal choices like pumpkin butter pecan, ginger and horchata. Ocheesee Creamery in Grand Ridge makes its delectable ice cream from the whole milk produced on its farm. While the pumpkin spice flavor is a fall favorite, the signature salty caramel ice cream can also satisfy a taste for the season.
Fresh Finds from the Farmer's Market
For a taste of some of Florida’s finest produce, head to the local farmers markets in Jackson County. The Marianna City Farmer’s Market runs from September through December and is known as one of the only “true” farmers markets in the Sunshine State, where you can meet the men and women responsible for these homegrown goods. Up to 25 vendors are on hand at this family-friendly market selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to local honey and handmade items. The market sets up shop under the pavilion at Madison Street Park from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It’s perfect for stocking up on fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables and its location at the park makes it a great family friendly outing too.
Take the Scenic Route
The mountains may have scenic fall foliage, but Florida’s fall has plenty of scenic paths to explore. Jackson County has two wildflower routes blossoming with bright purple, yellow, and blue blooms that make for Instagram-worthy photo ops. As you drive down U.S. Highway 90 between Cypress and Grand Ridge or State Road 2 near Campbellton, you’ll find a different kind of fall scenery as lavender hues of Blazing Stars and False Foxgloves and warm yellow blooms of Goldenrods and Brown-Eyed Susans dot the fields. Brilliant blue blooms of Mistflowers also color the roadside pastures, painting a different picture of fall for the Sunshine State. You’ll also find miles of “Southern snow” as Jackson County is home to more than 36,000 acres of cotton fields that bloom in the fall. Be sure to map out your scenic drive along Jackson County’s Agritourism Trail here.
Jackson County’s fall season is rooted in a rich agricultural heritage that makes a day on the farm a fun fall event for the whole family. Whether you pick your own produce, get lost in a corn maze or take a scenic drive past fields of wildflowers, Jackson County boasts an eclectic variety of ways to experience all things fall in the Sunshine State.