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Harbes Family Farm (credit: Victoria Caruso)

It got cold this winter, didn’t it?

The opportunity to build a snowman after several winters of freezing rain and flurries was fun, and ditto for the snow day (at least for kids). Yet warmer temperatures and more sunlight have been a welcome sight of late, inspiring us to break out of hibernation mode and look forward to more time spent outdoors.

Your backyard or apartment deck may make for a perfect place to sip a glass of Long Island white wine or IPA while watching flowers grow from buds to blooms. But after a few weeks holed up inside to avoid Jack Frost nipping at our noses, the motivation to drive somewhere may be strong. The North Fork’s acres and acres of farmland open the door to plenty of ways to welcome the coming of spring — think opportunities to pet baby animals with the human babies in your life and walk through fields of tulips that’ll make you feel like you’ve managed to drive to Amsterdam. Other farms offer classes, allowing you to make like a flower and grow.

Step out and celebrate spring at these North Fork farms.

The fields at Waterdrinker Family Farm. (Photo courtesy Waterdrinker Family Farm)

Walk the tulip fields at Waterdrinker Family Farm & Garden, multiple locations, 631-878-8652

Waterdrinker Family Farm & Garden has become a fast favorite since opening its Manorville location in 2018. Its petting zoo, ample playgrounds, numerous annual festivals and on-site Long Island Farm Brewery set in a former barn make it a worthy alternative to Harbes. Its success has been so significant that the farm opened a second Riverhead location in September. This April, the farms in Riverhead and Manorville will play host to the Tulip Festival from April 13–May 5. Families can walk through rows and rows of poppy-colored tulips, picking their own bouquet to bring home. Installations like windmills make perfect spots for a family snap.

Celebrate everything at Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, 631-482-7641

Harbes is arguably the best-known family friendly farm on the Island. There’s a reason there’s consistently a full parking lot and line of cars, though: Harbes Family Farm delivers. There are festivals galore here: Baby animals (May 25-27), sunflower (July 13-14), sweet corn (July 27-28), peach (Aug. 10-11) and watermelon (Aug. 24-25), there’s very little Harbes does not celebrate about warm weather. (Or cooler temperatures — you know apples and pumpkins are on tap for fall). So, unsurprisingly, fans will celebrate when the Mattituck institution reopens for the season on Saturday, April 20. Family members 21+ can also toast to the with a glass of Harbes wine, sold on-site.

Berry picking at Wickham’s Fruit Farm (Credit: Victoria Caruso)

Underrated U-pick at Wickham’s Fruit Farm, 5698 Sound Ave, Riverhead, 631-734-6441

Waterdrinker and Harbes take up a lion’s share of the LI-family-friendly market, so Wickham’s Fruit Farm flies under the radar. For late-spring fun, head there for strawberry picking — the so-juicy fruit is a hit, even with tiny tykes’ whose diets typically only consists of dino nuggets and plain pasta. Summer produce picking includes cherries, peaches, raspberries and blackberries.

Have an al fresco beer at Jamesport Farm Brewery, 5873 Sound Ave, Riverhead, 844-532-2337

A sprawling outdoor space — and rather spacious tasting room — makes Jamesport Farm Brewery a hopping place to be come fall. A farm-to-pint menu of easy-drinkers and heavier stouts is available. Not into beer? Cider, wine, handcrafted cocktails and food like pizza are all on the table. Speaking of bites and non-beer fun, food trucks will return in March, and live music will be back on April 6.

Grown your garden (or pantry) at Sang Lee Farms, 25180 County Rd 48, Peconic, 631-734-7001

Aspiring and avid green thumbs can receive consultations that help them jumpstart organic gardens, from equipment needed to harvest guidance. Not ready for that type of commitment? Bring the farm-to-table experience to your kitchen by signing up for a CSA program. CSA members receive seasonal veggies at a drop site. They’ll also learn exactly how the food was grown — a learning experience that can give them confidence in what they’re consuming.

A kiddo plays with a wallaby at Long Island Game Farm. (Photo courtesy Long Island Game Farm)

Visit baby animals at Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park & Children’s Zoo, 489 Chapman Blvd, Manorville, 631-878-6644

More than 200 animals call this 29-acre farm home, and new additions arrive each spring. Children can bottle-feed baby goats and sheep and slip mama some food, which comes in refillable souvenir buckets. Sometimes, visitors can sneak peeks at hours-old newborn animals nursing. When that loses its luster, families can also see zebras, buffalo, lemurs, red foxes and the other residents. Private tours and parties are available for people who want to learn even more.