Projects, Farms, Festivals and Events in the North State
By Patrick John
By Patrick John
OUR FRIENDS Margarita and Paul recently dropped off a jar of local, homemade apricot jam. They had harvested the fruit themselves at a local farm, gone home to gather all the canning gear and produced a big batch for family and friends. We consumed the whole jar in just a few days, and it was some inspiration to look around and take advantage of the bounty all around us. As we pack in our own summer gardens, we can keep the gardening spirit alive with a fall abundance of projects, farms, festivals and events in Northern California.
Obviously, October is a huge month for pumpkins. Pumpkin patches are the go-to family expedition this month. In Shasta County, Nash Ranch and Hawes Farms are two of the biggest pumpkin patches to visit. Both have a variety of other activities like corn mazes and food, but the wide array of pumpkins are the stars as we head into Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkinland Chocolate Company on Highway 99 in Los Molinos is known for their pumpkins too, but I’m sure you caught the mention of chocolate! Huge chocolate covered apples, amazing chocolate turtles and so much more.
So many varieties of apples are plentiful here in the North State. The Manton Apple Festival is Oct. 5 and that’s your shot at purchasing bushels of local apples, lots of pies, other apple food products, plus art, jewelry and more. Think you have the best apple pie around? Enter the pie baking contest and let the experts weigh in.
If you’re in the mood to harvest items yourself, “you-pick” farms are scattered all over Northern California. The Serendipity U-Pick Ranch in Anderson has cherries, berries, apples, plums, figs, flowers and more all summer long. As we merge into fall, apples, persimmons, squash and even the last of the tomato crop are available to harvest and take home. If you’ve never had a persimmon cookie during the holidays, you are truly missing out.
Fruits, vegetables, vines and herbs also make for some beautiful fall and holiday decorations. Most of the lavender farms in the area are closed for the year, but several have continuing classes and items to purchase for wreath and décor making. Lavineyard Farms of Whitmore is hosting several lavender wreath workshops at the end of the month. The finished products are fantastic and make for perfect seasonal displays or gifts. Fall is also the time we cull the grapevines off the trunk. Those vines are super-versatile for autumn crafts and wreaths.
If you’re interested in any of the farms, events or classes listed above, all the companies and locations mentioned have websites or a Facebook presence to keep you informed. Enjoy the bounty of fall! •