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The Yankee Express

The scents and tastes of fall in Grafton

Pumpkins at Houlden Farm in North Grafton. (Courtesy of Houlden Farm Facebook Page)

By Christine Galeone
The season of golden foliage, tranquil pumpkin patches and overstuffed backpacks has arrived.  And its soothing, spicy aromas and tastes can be found throughout New England.
In Grafton, you can already find plenty of those cozy scents and tastes. And many businesses in town have also experienced a taste of excitement recently.
In North Grafton, Houlden Farm – which was recently nominated for the “Telegram & Gazette 2021 Best of Central Mass” award for Best Produce – has been helping people enjoy the season. In addition to mums, cider and an abundance of seasonal produce, the family-owned farm already has a wide array of pumpkins. And in addition to having a farm-to-table food truck, petting zoo and its Sunflower Shanty beer garden, it’s now booking private events.    
Other Grafton businesses were also nominated for the “Telegram & Gazette 2021 Best of Central Mass” awards. The restaurants include Bushel N’ Peck for Best Sandwich Shop and Cancun’s for Best Mexican Restaurant and Margarita. The shops include Off the Common Antiques for Best Antique Shop, Koopman Lumber and Hardware for Best Local Hardware Store and Quite Fetching Barkery and Pet Boutique for Best Pet Services. Highfields Golf & Country Club was nominated for Best Golf Course, and Premier Sport Tae kwondo was nominated for Best Martial Arts Studio. Dance It Up and Murphy Academy of Irish Dance were both nominated for Best Dance Studio. And Fitzy’s Car and Pet Wash was nominated for Best Car Wash, while Roy’s Auto Glass was nominated for Best Glass and Mirror Company.
Touchstone Community School also has some exciting news. The school recently expanded its Early Childhood education program. It now accepts children as young as two years and nine months old for its new classes, which utilize the emergent curriculum teaching philosophy that builds on children’s interests. 
Over in South Grafton, Highfields Golf & Country Club has turned its attention to the tastes of autumn. The country club’s John Henry Tavern, which has a patio where people can view fall foliage, recently released its new fall menu. In addition to other hearty fall favorites such as chicken parmesan, chili and clam chowder, it now has a “Build Your Own Mac & Cheese” option for customers who would like to add various sauces, vegetables and meats/seafood to the classic seasonal meal.   
Elsewhere in South Grafton, Crossroads Nutrition has also welcomed fall. The shop, which sells protein shakes, refresher teas and protein snacks, recently infused its offerings with the flavors of the season. On various days this month, its specials have included chocolate chip pumpkin shakes, caramel pumpkin cheesecake shakes, pumpkin Oreo cheesecake shakes and fall refreshers.   
Autumn flavors, scents and sights will be at the Congregational Church of Grafton’s 42nd Annual Harvest Fair and Apple Pie Social. The free event will be held on Sunday Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the church grounds, located at 30 Grafton Common. The event will include live music, a yard sale and raffles. And the apple pies, apple crisp, chili and corn chowder that the fair is known for will be available to buy. The funds raised through the sales will help support the charities and missions that the church supports.
Another fun fall fundraiser supports the missions and ministries of Saint James Parish. The church, located in South Grafton, will hold its second annual Harvest Calendar Raffle. The raffle will offer prizes every day in November. The prizes include cash, restaurant and store gift cards, theme gift baskets and more. Raffle tickets are being sold to everyone at the church’s website,, under Online Giving – Calendar Raffle Fundraiser. Tickets are $10 each or six tickets for $50 and are being sold through Oct. 25.     
There are so many ways to experience the coziness and simple joys of autumn. Grafton businesses and organizations make it even easier.
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