Harvest in the hills: Celebrating WV’s fall foods
The rains and heat of summer have done their work, and the fruits and vegetables are at their peak of flavor and nutrition. Fall is harvest time in West Virginia, and it’s time to celebrate the end of summer, spend time with family and friends, and eat lots of really great food.
There are fun harvest festivals, farmer’s markets and farm-to-table restaurants serving up the best foods of Appalachia. Come join us in the age-old tradition of celebrating the bounty of the garden.
Autumn Harvest Festival
Monroe County | Sept. 23-24
The Autumn Harvest Festival at West Virginia University’s Willow Bend Farm celebrates the end of the growing season, with contests for flowers, vegetables, quilts and art. You’ll enjoy the amazing food, live gospel & bluegrass music, local crafts and quilts as well as tractor pulls and hayrides. In true harvest tradition, apple butter is made on-site and is available for sale at the event as well.
The Autumn Harvest Festival and West Virginia Roadkill Cook-Off
Pocahontas County | Sept. 29-30
The West Virginia RoadKill Cook-Off is definitely a Mountain State original. In recent years, this wild and fun festival has caught the attention of the Food Network, Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel.
While it’s interesting to see on TV, this is one festival you have to attend. Not only are there ample harvest foods, but your palate will be wowed with dishes like squirrel gravy over biscuits, teriyaki-marinated bear & deer sausage! It’s a harvest festival you won’t soon forget.
Annual Apple Harvest Festival
Berkeley County | Oct. 7-8
Harvest time means mountain apples! Apple jelly, apple pie, apple butter, cider and more dominate this family-friendly festival. You’ll also enjoy quilts, crafts, music, a 5k and amazing harvest season foods.
Grape Stomping Wine Festival
Nicholas County | Sept. 16-17
Folks of all ages can join in the age-old tradition of barefoot grape stomping. You’ll enjoy local wine and classic flavors like dandelion, elderberry and rhubarb, plus food, crafts, music. And yes, you can really get purple feet as you stomp around a vat of juicy grapes. Vineyard and distillery tours are also available, so you can explore the farm.
WV Pumpkin Festival
Cabell County | Oct. 5-8
An event to make Charlie Brown proud, the pumpkin festival is dedicated to everything pumpkin. Folks of all ages can enjoy hayrides, corn maze and pick-your-own pumpkins.
Pick Your Own
Ridgefield Farm and Orchard in Harpers Ferry has hayrides, pumpkins and apples you can pick yourself. You can try more than 16 varieties of apples, including unusual ones like Nittany, Cameo, Honey Crisp, Virginia Gold and Yataka. The staples are there, too: Pink Lady, Ginger Gold, Gala, Cortland, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Empire, West Virginia’s own Golden Delicious and more. During October, the farm is decorated and there’s live music, dancing, magic shows, pumpkin carving, corn mazes and fresh cider every Friday and Saturday night.
Gritt’s Farm has several fall playgrounds for the kids, including a Slide Mountain, corn pit, and a hay maze. They can also hitch a hayride, hop aboard the wagon train or ride around in a peddle kart. How far can you send an apple? Try your luck with the slingshot and apple cannons.
The Oaks Family Farm has pumpkins, a you-pick pumpkin patch, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), snacks and a refreshment stand.
Farmer’s Markets are hopping all through the fall. You can meet and chat with the farmers who grow your food and learn about farming firsthand. Not only will you find fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables, you’ll also discover eggs, cheese, local meats, crafts, jellies and homemade breads.
West Virginia’s chefs know exactly how to prepare locally grown foods, and fall is the time for farm-to-table restaurants in the Mountain State to shine:
Which West Virginia harvest flavors are your fall favorites?
This post was last updated on January 19, 2021