Fall is in the air in Franklin, Tennessee—shorter days with cool mornings and sunny afternoons invite the leaves to turn, while the smell of bonfires and sounds of high school marching bands punctuate the evenings. Across Williamson County, farmers are getting their crops in and preparing for a season of rest and replenishment.
It’s a time for celebration, of family traditions and the hope of a new season. And for many, it’s time to get outside and embrace the autumnal goodness. Fortunately, several of our beloved local farms are open to the public this time of year.
Perhaps the grandaddy of them all is the Gentry Farm, where for decades parents have been taking children to the ca. 1849 homestead to pick out pumpkins. Over the years, they’ve added activities that make for a full day of fun — think corn mazes, historic barns and educational displays, wagon rides and tire swings. You can walk the nature trail down to the Harpeth River, visit with the animals and grab fresh popcorn, baked goods and soft drinks from the concession stand. The Farm is open Saturdays and Sundays through October 30, and on October 12 and 13 for Fall Break.
If you’re looking for an Ag-venture, then Lucky Ladd Farms offers a 60-acre farmstead southeast of Franklin in Eagleville that is consistently rated a top experience for children in Middle Tennessee. This is a bona fide family fun park, with 50+ activities, pony rides, a barnyard featuring hundreds of animals, acres of playgrounds and fun educational opportunities like the wilderness trail, habitat discovery zone and critter alley (currently featuring emus). This fall, they’re offering pumpkin picking and a corn maze, too.
At Hatcher Family Dairy in College Grove, six generations have farmed the land since 1831. These days, they’re known for all-natural milk and other dairy products. While the working farm is no playground, you can visit their farm store Monday through Saturday for milk, ice cream, eggs, and a range of local goods. On Saturday, October 7, they’re hosting Touch a Tractor Day, and October 21 is Pumpkin Painting Day.
Fall is more than pumpkins… at Morning Glory Orchard in Nolensville, this is the season of apples! Tuesdays through Saturdays until Oct. 2, visit for fresh apple butter, apple sauce, ciders (including hard cider), honey and local elderberry syrup. While you can’t walk the rows most days, you can book a picnic in the orchard.
At Wilson Family Farm in Bethesda, the ca. 1893 farm also offers a pumpkin patch, hayrides, and corn maze for family fun, but their claim to fame is two-fold: first is Ace Wilson’s kettle corn, locally famous for its sweet-and-salty deliciousness, and second is the pumpkin slingshot. Everyone should experience the thrill of sending a 10-pound pumpkin hurling a hundred yards through the air. The farm is open Saturdays and Sundays through Oct 29.
A visit to Noble Springs Dairy in Franklin in the fall is all about cuddling the baby goats. On Saturdays, guided and self-driven tours of the farm are available, along with their addictive cheese plates and goat milk skin care products. Check out the milking parlor, see the cheese-making facility and learn about the processes.
If alpacas are more your speed, then Mistletoe Farm is the place to be. While the animals have been staying cool, they’ll be out and about from Oct 24 through Dec 17. Tours are available through advance booking, and guests are invited to shop the farm’s line of woolen products, from dryer balls to beanies and other handmade knitwear.
No visit to Williamson County would be complete without exploring our agricultural heritage, where the story of this community begins. Your own memories are waiting to be made on a farm near Franklin.