By Nori Patnode, CCA Certified
Summer is gorgeous in the Northwest and shows off the beauty brought on by months of grey skies and rain; however, fall is my favorite season. Thank goodness fall is so spectacular so that we don’t have to mourn the end of summer here!
Why do I love fall? One reason is that I love cooking, and I also enjoy sourcing my own fruits and vegetables. If you do to, consider planting corn, carrots, parsnips, kale, collards, brussel sprouts and artichokes. These vegetables thrive during the warm days and cool nights of fall here. And don’t forget to plant your pumpkins and gourds for the coming fall season! If you don’t have room in your own yard, you may be close to a pea patch; there are many throughout the neighborhoods here.
Reap the benefits of your crops by cooking your favorite fall recipes. Make a simple fall slaw using broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, apples and sunflower seeds. Toss in a light dressing using lemon juice and apple cider. Whip up a batch of hearty butternut squash soup or a savory fall stew.
Our state is rich in agriculture of all sorts (which is probably why we have so many fantastic “farm to table” restaurants!). I have driven over Snoqualmie Pass often, but its beauty is always amazing, especially when the trees are showing off their beautiful fall colors. This can be an amazing day trip, or spend the night in the Yakima Valley and make pit stops at Denny Creek, Lake Easton, and Lake Kachess. I’d recommend lunch at Mountain High Hamburgers in Easton and on the way, hit the plethora of produce stands in Cle Elum, Ellensburg, and Yakima. Here you can buy beautiful apples and peaches to make delicious apple pies or a peach cobbler.
Want to do something closer to home? Visit the Japanese Garden in the Washington Arboretum or Seward or Gasworks Parks. Walk along the water front at Rustin Way in Tacoma. Wright Park in Tacoma is absolutely beautiful with an abundance of trees that will dazzle you as they turn different shades of reds, oranges, and browns before losing all their leaves and standing grand but leafless in throughout the winter.
Visit a pumpkin patch and take the grandparents, as they love to participate and watch the children cavort and find adventure here! There are so many to choose from, and many of them have corn mazes or haunted woods, petting farms and hayrides. Often they sell more than pumpkins, such as Mums, Black Eyed Susans, or Dahlias. There also might be fall produce at your local pea patch, so you can cook your favorite recipes even if you were not able to plant your own garden. Try out Maris Farms in Buckley, Fox Hollow Farm on the Eastside, Remlinger Farms in Carnation, or Stocker Farms in Snohomish. If you do a google search, you will find many options.
Many of my favorite memories of fall come from taking my now grown children to the pumpkin patch. There would always be a “find the largest pumpkin contest”. My biggest kid, my husband, would usually win this contest. After hitting the scales, our invoice would always be largest as well! Carving the pumpkins was always an adventure as this event would also include roasting the pumpkin seeds and making sugar cookie cutouts in the shape of pumpkins and ghosts to decorate. My sons would likely tell you that I still try to carry on this tradition and I would have to say, guilty as charged.
I could go on and on about the season! Think about what makes fall special for you and then go out and join some events. I can guarantee you will find beauty, wonderful smells, tasty food, and good people.
What is your favorite season?