My favorite time of the year.
I know most people love summer for its endless sunshine, warm weather, and beach days (trust me, I get it…it’s a beautiful thing, especially up here). But for me, nothing beats fall. I love wearing wool socks, lots of layers of clothes, and cuddling up on a couch when the temperature drops. One of my absolute favorite things about fall, though, is the almost-overnight drop in traffic as soon as Labor Day hits. The city clears out, and commuting to work on my bike is even easier with fewer cars to dodge. Of course, people will visit on the weekends for the colorful trees (I get that, too…it’s breathtaking!), but for the most part it’s a much slower pace, and that’s what I love.
The slower pace applies to all aspects of town except for one: the Sara Harding Farmer’s Market. Sure, there are fewer people roaming the market, but the in-season produce this time of year is bustin’ at the seams. The autumn harvest is my favorite thing about fall.
All the farmers have an overwhelming amount of fresh produce this time of year: vegetables, squashes, and apples (OH, THE APPLES). We picked up a massive “summer sale” bag filled with 40-50 green and purple bell peppers for $5. I wasn’t even sure what to do with 50 bell peppers, but I can’t turn down that quantity of high-quality of produce for five bones. Plus, it gives us the opportunity to experiment with different recipes. If nothing else, it’s just nice to know that I’ve always got green veggies on hand to add to whatever it is I’m cooking up.
It’s nearing the end of corn season but I never get sick of eating fresh corn right off the cob. We saddled up to a massive trailer filled with ears and plucked out a half-dozen sweet corn cobs. There’s just not a bad purchase to make at the market.
Don’t expect to just see only produce at the TC farmer’s market. There are dozens of different things to buy year-round: honey, homemade soaps, cheeses, flowers and bulbs, lotions, fresh-baked breads and pastries (including the greatest croissants this side of Paris), and candles made from beeswax. The variety of products and the creativity of the farmers and artisans in our area is incredible.
One of my favorite farms, Buchan’s Blueberry Hill, is busy transitioning from their successful blueberry season into apple cider and doughnut season. Like most people, I have an unwavering weakness for doughnuts in the fall. Even if I’ve not worked out, I will devour a doughnut–pumpkin, apple crisp, plain with cinnamon and sugar–without a single regret. We picked up a variety of four from their stand and entered doughnut ecstasy.
We’ve been to the farmer’s market past last two weekends, taking advantage of both the land’s bounty and the last few outdoor markets for this year. I can only hope the next few trips involve more doughnut deliciousness.