By Anne Young
As one season slips into another, our senses are filled with all things autumn. The katydids’ whirring and whining was replaced by the drone of crickets through day and night. Even that song has been silenced as nights become chillier. A formation of geese flew over my head and my own tame flock of ducks cocked their heads up in wonder. This is the time of year we rush to complete outdoor tasks. Farmers also scurry to finish harvest and prepare for frosts. Our calendars are filled with fun events and outings. So just in case you are stressed you won’t fit in the fun, I present to you the Fall Bucket List.
I stumbled onto one Fall Bucket List on one of my favorite Parents blogs, Tinkerlab. Of course, I hone in on all the activities to do at farms, orchards, and wineries. This harvest season calls out for one more hurrah at the farms surrounding us. The Fall Bucket List invites you to visit a pumpkin patch, pick apples, make leaf prints, carve pumpkins, make popcorn from a cob, find your way through a corn maze, bob for apples, jump in puddles, drink apple cider, bake pumpkin bread, and make an apple pie. Visit any farm this time of year, and you can happily check those things off your list as well as making memories to warm you into the next cold season.
A quick drive up Route 7 cutting through Clarke County gives you ample opportunities to complete your bucket list. Mackintosh Farms entices us with pick-your-own apples and red raspberries. It is so difficult to not eat them all at once, they are so delicious. But you can make jam in a snap. You can get single serving pectin packets that use only one and a half cups of berries and some sugar. Voila! You have two jars of jam to refrigerate or freeze for later.
A few weeks ago, I taught my young daughter how to gently twist the ripe apple off the tree so as not to damage the fruit or branches. She giggled as the apple came loose into her hand and promptly dropped it hard on the ground in delight. So I advise you, if you want undamaged fruit, choose your picking partners wisely.
Wander down Route 7 a little more and you can’t miss the superhero characters at Wayside Farm. “Heroes of the Corn” Maze is their theme this year. Make sure you have plenty of time and are ready for plenty of laughs as you find your way through the maze. Folks can also enjoy pig races, pumpkin smashing, the combine slide among the perennial favorites of pumpkin patch picking and visiting farm animals. Now how many new Fall Bucket List items can you add to the list after that visit?
But if that sounds a bit too active for your type of fun, drive a bit further down Route 7, and you’ll find Veramar Vineyards. The view is as delicious as the wine. A friend and I left our kids with our husbands and snuck away to the vineyard to sip on the wine and drink in the view. The layers of hills and mountains overlap and seem to lead on into the clouds. The vineyard is open during the week so it is easy to find a moment to slip away and relax, wineglass in hand.
One of my favorite bucket list autumn activities is making pies. It takes awhile to prepare the fruit and then the dough, rolling it all out smooth and laying it in the pie pan with anticipation of the final product. Not a baker? You can still check this item off your bucket list. Nalls Farm Market has been in the business for a long time, and I think they have perfected pie making. With fifteen kinds of pies that can be ordered two hours in advanced you may just have to skip the time it takes to make your own and let them do the work for you. They also have seasonal flavors of mincemeat, pecan and pumpkin pie.
Clarke County Farmers market continues every Saturday morning from 8am till noon through October. Enjoy a few more strolls around the market and stock up on seasonal vegetables, eggs and meats as well as fresh baked goods all while listening to local musicians serenade the street.