Are you feeling winter is coming? Last weekend, I went to an apple orchard to enjoy this beautiful autumn. There are many apple orchards around Twin Cities. We picked Afton Apple Orchard because they have many attractions for kids such as an animal petting zoo and hay ride as well as pumpkins. My daughter enjoyed munching small apples and tapping pumpkins :)
"Picking" is one of the fun things that you can enjoy in Minnesota. I love "U-pick" (means you pick fruits or vegetables by yourself) for berries in spring and apples in autumn. As a nutritionist and an avid food lover, I like locally grown produces.
1. Farmers Markets
During summer, there are farmers markets, where a number of farmers bring in a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables for sale.
Usually, we can find much more variety of produces at more reasonable prices than at grocery stores. I like to visit farmers markets just for fun, but also to find Asian fruits and vegetables that I can't buy from grocery stores. Trying vegetables that look unfamiliar to me is also fun! They also have beautiful flowers. You can buy a big bunch of flowers at an unbelievably low price.
From June through the beginning of October, University of Minnesota Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays on campus. The biggest farmers market in Twin Cities is Minneapolis Farmers Market in North Lyndale (open 7 days a week) and on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis on Thursdays. You can find many others!
Since farmers markets are no longer open, I have a real feeling that winter is coming...
2. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
You can also make a contract with a farm to receive weekly deliveries of boxful locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. What kind of vegetables and fruits you receive each week solely depends on the season and weather, but it is a fun surprise to open a box and say, "What is this veggie...?". They usually have designated delivery places where you can pick up your box, but sometimes they deliver a box to your work place. The office of our division (where I have my office) has a contract with a non-profit rural community in Wisconsin, Community Homestead, so that I can pick up my box at work. Actually, I will receive my last box (box No. 20!) of vegetables this season this afternoon. I have enjoyed trying new recipes using celariac, rutabaga, parsnips, garlic scrapes, etc... (I have never come across any of these vegetables...).
I will miss them all!