Today here in Colorado, the temperature is forecasted to go from around 80 degrees at mid-day to the mid-30s tonight. Fall is here, and people around my area have been frantically trying to get ready. My friend Butter (of Hunger and Thirst for Life) spent the last two days foraging like a madwoman before the frost. And I spent yesterday and today picking apples off our tree and cleaning out the garden, harvesting green tomatoes, the last of the raspberries, chard, and teeny tiny zucchini that were still trying to come on.
When it’s all said and done, I’ll have probably near to 30 or 40 pounds of apples, plus the smaller bounty from the garden. I’ll feel rich with all this autumn produce. And you know what? You can too!
Even if you don’t have an apple tree, chances are you have a you-pick-em apple orchard somewhere near you, and it’s definitely worth visiting! Because Sustainable Eating tip No. 10 is…
Pick Your Own
(Although, admittedly, you probably won’t be able to pick strawberries and raspberries right now, as in the photo…)
I had honestly never been to a pick-your-own farm (that I remember) before a few years ago when I discovered Berry Patch Farm in Brighton, CO. (Strawberries and raspberries above from Berry Patch Farm!) It’s SO much fun and so rewarding that I am now a huge pick-your-own lover.
Need a good reason to try it for yourself? How about these:
- You’ll get the freshest possible produce—literally picked that day (by you!).
- You’ll often save money picking your own, especially if you buy in bulk.
- It’s great for the environment because pick-your-own farms are often organic (double check before you go!)…
- And because you’re not using as much fuel to transport the produce from far off places…
- And because you’re using less packaging!
- Kids LOVE you-pick-em farms, and it’s a great way for city kids (or suburban kids!) to get a hands-on taste of life on their farm as well as experiencing some of the time and effort that goes into the food on their table. Find out if your local farm gives tours or hayrides for an extra special treat.
- You’re supporting your local foodshed.
- You’ll probably be ready to do a little preserving—even something as simple as drying or freezing some for later.
Have I convinced you? Then head over to PickYourOwn.org to find a u-pick farm near you—and don’t think that you’re out of options just because it’s October! Pumpkin patches are very popular pick-your-own farms, and some areas even have farms where you can cut your own Christmas trees. Plus, you can plan now for next spring.
Interested in an apple orchard experience in Colorado? My friend over at Boulder Locavore recently made a trip to Ya Ya Farm and Orchard in Longmont and took some beautiful photos (plus she shares a recipe for baked gluten-free apple cider doughnuts!).
I’m challenging myself to eat more sustainably over the next year—and documenting the steps I take in this series, inspired by an article in the Jul/Aug 2010 issue of Whole Living Magazine. Want to join me? Leave a comment below and pledge to eat more sustainably this year!