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.