It’s punkin pickin time! This past weekend I brought the kids to Baughers Farm in Westminster, Maryland. It’s a bit of a hike for Anne Arundel County folks—about an hour and 15 minutes north. But I think it’s worth it.
What is it?
Baugher’s began as a 60 acre farm owned and operated solely by the Baugher family for more than 100 years. These days, the family manages 600 acres of orchards, packing facilities, a restaurant and two markets. Interestingly, the farms sells a huge amount of their fruits and vegetables to Anne Arundel County public schools.
The farm is located in Carroll County in an area of beautiful rolling hills covered in a patchwork of corn fields, hay meadows, orchards and the occasional pockets of densely packed housing developments.
Drive up 97 to 695 toward Baltimore. Take 795 toward Owings Mills and Reiserstown. Turn off on Route 140. You are getting close! This road has a lot of lights, so be patient. Finally, turn right onto Baugher Road and you are there.
On weekends, Baugher’s can get pretty crowded. The cars you see along the road are folks who don’t want to use the very large and plentiful lot behind the market. I don’t know why because we were parked in an awesome spot inside of a minute.
What to Do
So the main parking lot is to the rear of the property, next to a “Petting Zoo”. Look to the left, where two tall and dilapidated old buildings loom over a small pond and idyllic little grassy, fenced area.
As you get closer, you will see that those buildings were at one time actually stalls. Built to accommodate a livestock operation, one building had pigs on the 2nd floor and other livestock below.You can see through a cracked window what A1 eloquently referred to as a “shit thrower”. This is a machine that conveyed barnyard waste from the upstairs to a bin or truck or whatever the farmer used, to get the poop from the barn to the field.
There is a small “compost pile” of hay and poopies on your walk over, if you want to see first hand how farm waste gets mixed and used as homemade fertilizer.
Obviously, most of the folks walking by don’t think about that. They just try to keep their kids away from the puddles around it the poop-pile.
The “Petting Zoo”
When the Baugher family decided that raising and selling livestock (mostly pigs) wasn’t financially viable, they turned the stalls into a petting zoo. I use zoo in the loosest of terms. It is cute and idyllic and represents a real farm and not a contrived one by being appropriately shabby. There are chicks, a peacock, super cute bunnies, ducks and more in stalls to the right of the entrance gate. Many of these animals are used in educational demonstrations throughout the year.
Open the gate to the pond petting area by pulling UP on the knob.
Notice the insanely adorable bunny right behind you. She looks like a cartoon character.
Shut the gate right away so the animals and errant toddlers don’t get out. Inside are donkeys, a pony, myriad goats and sheep, chickens and A LOT of poo-poo on the ground (as one should assume there would be). Pet, brush and coo for awhile, then walk out onto the small bridge built over the pond. There is a swing set as well as a tree swing near the chicken coop.
Scrub up at the small sink just outside the zoo gate, near the chicks/kitty pen. Up the hill from the zoo is a small playground and picnic tables.
Mosey on up toward what is obviously the main market either through a stone fruit orchard to your left or the main road to your right. Be careful on the road! The hayrides barrel by pretty fast. Impatient (or more likely wore out) drivers use it to exit.
In the Market Area
At the main market you will find a bouncy house, musicians, a playground, an old wooden train and whatever special events the company has going on. While Baugher’s isn’t as expensive as other farms we’ve been to, they have lesser quality events. For example, the bouncy house was only $1 per child, but the kids only got to jump for 3 or so minutes, even though there wasn’t a line. Face-painting was $2, ($3 if you wanted a Baltimore Raven???) but was pretty basic. The kids of course, didn’t mind.
A1 made a beeline for the homemade apple cider donuts and a hot drink. #1 found funnel cake and #2 climbed on everything he could find, so all were happy. I sat contentedly listening to the band and watching this guy make popcorn.
He makes it look so manly, with the fire under that ginormous pot and the protective shield from errant popping kernels…
The hayride cost $1 per person. You have to choose to go to the pumpkin patch or to pick apples. Of course you can do both, but separately. Kids under 1 ride free.
Get your ticket then wait in line. The line moves fast, because there are several trucks and they all carry a lot of people.
The pumpkin patch is huge and full of pumpkins of all sizes. They cost .49 cents/pound.
When you arrive, the kids will be distracted by a large slide and some hay bales to jump on. Beware that it has some marshy, muddy areas around it. But it’s a great place for them to wear themselves out.
The apple orchard is also huge, and full of several varieties of apples. sold for $1.49 per pound.
After your punkin pickin’, you can eat at the Baugher’s family restaurant. We brought a picnic, which we ate right in the field. It was right around then that my camera battery died.
Exiting the property can be a lesson in patience. Instead, head down Baugher Road the opposite direction from Route 140, toward the pumpkin patch. Follow it around to the end (it turns to dirt and veers to the right). When you get back to the main road, turn right and follow it a ways until it joins Route 140. Turn left and you are headed home….
The Bottom Line?
We are going back next week to pick some apples and get some more of those cider donuts!
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