Farmers eager to offer fall activities for families

Farmers eager to offer fall activities for families

Farmers eager to offer fall activities for families
As the weather changes, pumpkins will fill the stands at local farmers markets.

CONCORD, CA—Farmers who sell at farmers markets have been quite resilient for the last six months, despite the restrictions that the coronavirus pandemic has forced upon them.

But fall is here, winter is coming and many farmers markets are beginning to close for the season. Many farmers markets remain open year-round and there are other sources for them to sell their products, so all is not lost.

These small local farms are undeniably important to the economy and to local food systems. That’s why we ask that you support these small farms and shop local farmers markets as much as you can.

Bright side to fall

There’s a bright side to fall, with farms offering offer pumpkin patches, hayrides, U-pick apples and corn mazes. Along with roadside farm stands and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription boxes, many local farms enjoy a fairly lucrative agribusiness this time of year that can help sustain them until spring. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, many farms will still open for these fall activities.

But the way we go about participating in these fall activities will undoubtedly change this year. A pumpkin patch or corn maze can be safe if you wear a mask and observe social distancing. Being outdoors can be safer than being indoors, too.

Swank Family Farms in Hollister is famous for its fall activities, and they are going ahead with all of their usual events with a long list of safety measures. Check with your local farm to ensure they are open during the pandemic and are following safety guidelines, and then enjoy one of your favorite fall activities.

Now in season

Brussels sprouts, grapes and dark leafy greens at J&M Farms out of Gilroy; winter squash from Bautista Ranch in Stockton; apples from Smit Farm near Linden; fall flowers from Sunrise; pears from Alhambra Valley Beef and Pears in Martinez; grapes from J&J Ramos out of Hughson; and pumpkins, Asian pears and vegetables from Swank Farm in Hollister.

The farmers market is the place to shop for fresh-from-the-farm produce in varieties you won’t find anywhere else.

The Concord Farmers Market has returned to Todos Santos Plaza every Tuesday, year-round, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Parking is available surrounding the market and in the parking structure on Salvio and Grant streets.

Also, stop by the new pop-up Concord market 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursdays at Concord High School.

Crispy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  • 1-3 dashes cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and black pepper
  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 11 T. butter at room temperature
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. molasses
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin purée
  • 1 large egg
  • White sugar for dusting

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add molasses, pumpkin and ginger and mix for two minutes. Add egg and mix for one more minute.

Form two 1½ -inch thick logs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice log into 1/3-inch slices and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with white sugar. Bake 8 minutes, then drop the temperature to 200. (The temp is turned down to avoid a cake-like cookie. The pumpkin purée makes the dough moister than regular cookies.) Bake for 10 minutes until crispy. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve.

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