It’s Hard Not to Fall for Autumn
We’ve taken a poll and determined that fall is officially our team’s favorite time of year. Changing leaves, crisp mornings and cozy sweaters, just what the doctor ordered after a long beautiful summer. Time to button up your home, harvest the rest of your summer gardens, and get your canning jars out. Here’s what we love to do with our shorter days as we inch towards the rainy season:
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
In the Portland area, we are surrounded by farms in every direction. You won’t have to travel far to find a good looking squash to slice and dice. Might as well get lost in a corn maze while you are at it! Carmel apple anyone?
Kruger’s Farm – A 150-acre farm located on Sauvie Island just 12 miles from downtown Portland at the conﬂuence of the Willamette and Columbia. The farm hosts a large produce stand with canning supplies and local artisan food items. U-pick pumpkins, pickling cucumbers, flowers and a HAUNTED corn maze on weekends.
The Pumpkin Patch – The original pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island, you can visit this awesome family farm June-October. Certified sustainable by The Food Alliance this patch offers hayrides, u-pick pumpkins, a fresh produce market, cafe and coffee, corn maze and more.
Lee Farms – Located in Tualatin area since 1869. For seven generations this family has worked the land and today, three generations are actively involved in their farming operations. Make sure get tickets if you plan on visiting on a Saturday or Sunday. Wristbands are available for different levels of fun!
Baggenstos Farm – The Baggenstos family has been farming in the Sherwood community since 1919. Over three generations have carried on the family farming and every October they offer hayrides, u-pick pumpkins, mazes, farm animals, food, a farm store and more.
Fir Point Farm – This family-owned farm in Aurora seeks to bring back the days of old. Pumpkin activities every weekend in October. Pick your own pumpkins or corn stalks, catch a hayride, jump in the bouncy house or sip some apple cider. Visit Charlotte’s Web corn maze or the petting zoo for some harvest time fun.
Liepold Farms – Located in Boring this farm has nothing boring about it. The fall festival hosts a HUGE corn maze, a variety of u-pick pumpkins, an apple-pult (attempt to hit a target with a huge rubber band and 3 apples), an antique tractor exhibition and lots of BBQ and beer.
Enjoy the Harvest at a Farmer’s Market
It’s the perfect time to fill your basket with the bounty of the season. Harvest is in full swing and there is nothing as good as a farm-to-table meal with friends and family. Be sure to hit up these neighborhood farmer’s markets to grab the freshest produce and flowers around. Colorful stands filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables, tasty samples and smiling faces. The Saturday market at Portland State University in the south Park Blocks offers a huge variety of fall flavors, cooking classes, live music, produce for preserving, gorgeous flower bouquets, delicious prepared foods and, of course, great people watching. Don’t miss the PDX Green Team favorite Pine State Biscuits stand at the south end of the market! From the vegans to the carnivores in your family, everyone loves the warm North Carolina flavors that PSB serves up on a cool fall day.
Make the Harvest Last
If you are like us, you want to stretch out the bounty as long as possible. With a little hard work and some preparation you can enjoy the fruits of your summer harvest all winter long. Some people (like us) get nervous around pressure cookers, so we stick to the foods that can be preserved in a hot water bath. This method is great for any of your high-acid foods, such as:
- Fruits and Fruit Juices
- Jams and Jellies
- Salsas and Tomatoes
- Pickles and Relishes
Canning your harvest can feel a little overwhelming if you have never done it before. The best way to learn is to become a preserving apprentice! Connect with a friend who has experience and supplies and offer to assist them with their project. They will appreciate the help and you will learn a hands-on skill that will last a lifetime. There are many steps involved and it is much more fun with some good company, great conversation and even a glass of wine.
If you love to DIY and want to jump right in, be sure to pick up the canning bible (Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving) and start with jam. The sticky sweet satisfaction of canning your own fruit is fun for people of all ages and helps you draw out the flavors of summer all year long. The Portland Homestead Supply Co will have all that you need to get your canning projects underway. Stop in for community classes and all of your canning and preserving supplies. Yum!