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Fall Harvest Festivals & Farmers’ Markets

Fall seasons brings an abundance of outdoor activities, especially food centered ones that make us want to run back to the kitchen and whip stuff up.

Among all the festivals, farmers’ markets and harvest-picking, there’s Thanksgiving, the height of family gatherings and culinary feasting. While I still recover from over indulging and being somewhat gluttonous last Thursday, (the change of weather struck me hard and I got the flu the day after)  I’ll share some fabulous things I’ve been enjoying this season  so far.

Mostly because of the amount of the traveling I’ve been doing, I’ve been able to go out and about and frolick with the leaves. It’s been particularly great getting out  of Atlanta to see  what my hometown and surrounding cities have going on.  The weather up here is just right and conducive to sipping hot ciders and burning wood. While my 1st stop at an outdoor market doesn’t necessarily count in the fall solstice seeing as though I went the 1st week in October, their offerings sure did kick off the season.

My aunt, sis and I rode our bikes into the city to have lunch with dad. As we approached the federal building that occupy’s his day, I noticed a small farmers’ market at one of the Smithsonian museums. I should have known that if any government agency was organizing a market, it would be the Department of Agriculture.

Sure enough, it was, though small. Theirs is held every Friday from April through October, just in time to make room for the real fall harvest ones. It was wonderful to see local vendors selling gourds, fall squash among other end of summer vegetables and fruits, kettle corn, makers bakers selling a myriad of breads, bee keepers selling honey and a hodge podge of other goodies.

The prices were reasonable and I believe 100% of their sales go to their own pockets. I particularly liked the coffee seller even though I wasn’t able to spend any significant amount of time speaking with her. I snapped a pic, took a card and hopped on to the next. I was given 10 minutes to make the rounds.

This is what they had.

If I’m lucky enough to actually taste any of these local finds, I’ll make sure to do a follow up with a full review. I’m excited to taste the honey which yields from Shenandoah Valley. Not to mention the artisan breads.

A few weeks later, I was back in DC. This time was officially fall. One of the more prized elements of this region, is the true experience of the changing seasons. Auburn  and cognac colored trees line our neighborhood streets and major fields along quaint highways. While my sister was in graduate school, she and my parents used to visit the Shenandoah Wine & Hot Air Balloon Festival. She always shared pics and I always looked with envy. I’ve yet to find anything like that in Atlanta.  Everything about it was right up my alley. Fortunately, I was home on the right weekend to make the family’s annual visit.

We drove about 75 miles out and almost missed the whole thing. We completely missed the balloons going up which would have been sweet to see. And,  I missed all the wine tastings. How in the world? Now I’m wondering why I’m even talking about this festival.

But, from what I did see and taste, it seems so fitting to host this annual festival in the historic Valley. It was a perfect family event where all children could enjoy. They offered pumpkin carvings, different live bands, a huge popcorn machine, cotton candy, corn dogs and funnel cakes.

And, a spectacular view.

This was much less a market, however, some local vendors were allowed to share their goodies.

I tasted some amazing pumpkin and apple butter from a family that’s been producing the spread for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, I’ve misplaced their business card and have exhausted all resources in locating them. I’ve made it task to find them before the year’s out.  The home made kettle corn was good, but I find the $4 bag at Costco to be much better and better priced for the size. The flip side is that it’s always good to support local foodies.

And calling McCutcheon’s to buy some pumpkin bread mix is on my to do list.

Some jewelry vendors did pique my interest, but I passed. My friend A bought a lovely silk cashmere scarf for a super low $10, while I chomped on my kettle corn and gasped at having missed the wine tasting. A nice young couple reminded me as they jovially walked back to their cars sipping from their plastic cups.

On the way out, I stared at the glaring sunset and small children tugging at their parent’s coats and realized how fabulous the fall season is. There is no reason not to enjoy all the warmth it brings, the gatherings, the food and more, all which will hopefully inspire you to stay busy with recipes that incorporate all that goodness…

We missed the crux of this particular festival but at least we go to some of it and I got hip to a few local vendors to support throughout the year. That alone was worth it for me.

Per their last survey in August, there are over 6,100 registered farmers’ markets. Click here for information from the USDA regarding national farmers’ markets.

Share what’s going on around your city or town!? I’d love to know and visit at least virtually!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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49 thoughts on “Fall Harvest Festivals & Farmers’ Markets

  1. ME ENCATAN LOS FARMERS MARKET…………TIENEN TODO TAN FRESCO ,QUIERES LLEAVRTE TODO A CASA CHAO SILVIA

  2. Nice recap of your fall activities, “decorated” with great pics. I love farmers’ markets; I’ll have to make a point of visiting them more often. They remind me of the Sunday market(s) in Paris, the one right under the metro tracks at LaMotte Piquet 🙂 Ah, gotta go back! Loved your post; your easy writing makes the reader feel “there” and enjoy the sights and scents of the season and the wares of the vendors.

  3. Rosa: both were great, especially the balloon and wine festival.

    Silvia: verdad que son una delicia! todo es casi seguro ser delicioso y super fresco; mas que la bodega.

    David: thanks! i love sharing this stuff with my readers, even if it’s local. at least you’ll get to see a bit of this place. i’m looking forward to going to many more this season, even in Atlanta.

  4. Great pic of the pumpkins up top. I like the ones from the farmer’s market also. It’s great when you can find a farmer’s market that has reasonable prices. Usually you have to pay BIG BUCKS for the good stuff!

  5. AJ: I totally agree with you. it’s pretty impressive here. simply stunning.

    Dullah: yeah, you like those, dontcha! lovely stuff we saw both days. i’ve yet to really dig into markets in Atlanta but would like to.

    Helene: Girl, if only I would have time to really indulge and taste them all! They lookeed divine!

    Fallacious Luva: Thanks FL, nice to see you on there for a 1st visit. Love the name. My gosh, you take me way back. We used to visit Amish country when I was a child! I was always so fascinated by their life style. Where’s the closest one?

    POA: Yes, indeed it was!

    Iris: gracias, amiga.

    Julianna: Thanks, sweet girl.

  6. Amazing pictures. I don’t know what it is about fall – it always makes me so excited. You truly have a gift for photography. I’ve recently given over the task of picture taking to my husband – he has a much better eye for photographs than I do.

  7. El otoño es una de mis mejores épocas del año. Creo que estoy más impresionado con los cambios de color que el tiempo actual.

  8. We absolutely have to check out the Shenandoah Wine & Hot Air Balloon Festival, never been yet. Such gorgeous pictures of all the different farmer’s market finds.

  9. Your blog is like the best & most sensual food puzzle, ever ! Thanx for LOVELY comment on my Wabi & Sabi blog & for being there in my blog world !!! And don’t forget this…..

    Never worry about the size of your Christian tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall…..

    Peace & Love

    Agneta, the swedish one 😉

  10. I really enjoyed that bike ride and lunch…gotta do that more often. Your pictures wonderfully depict the season!

  11. Denise: Thanks, lady! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. So much to enjoy outdoors. And the food just makes it all better. Well, that and all the fabulous clothes and boots! The photography has taken me some time and I’m still learning day by day! Keep at it!

    Taylor: Wow, look at you, sir! I’m going to have to treat you to some flan! 🙂

    5 Star Foodie: You must! It’s so wonderful, I swear, even for the 45 minutes we were there! The pics I’ve seen from years past are amazing.

    Agneta: Ahhh, i love it. A puzzle. I hope not a complicated one…I look forward to exchanging fashion and food senses on our blogs!

    Merari: That was quite special! We need to do that more often!

  12. As always, I enjoy reading your articles, you have described Fall very well, pictures are the witnesses.
    The recipe of the pumpkin flan looks great, is to eat and die.

    love, Carolina

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