As autumn arrives in Central Oregon, we eagerly accept its cozy embrace. Yet while we stock up on fruits and vegetables to preserve (see you at Fill Your Pantry!), we wistfully wish for just a couple more weeks of sunny farmers markets and bountiful fields. Green leaves turn auburn red, summer squash becomes gourds galore, and ovens preheat for those hearty meals to come. We’re happy to share some ways to ease into the season’s change. Whether you want to take small steps towards a pumpkin patch, or jump right into the middle of a corn maize — we’re here to guide you through the changing season!
Ponies & Pumpkin Patches
Many farms and ranches in Central Oregon will have pumpkins, gourds, and other fall produce available for purchase at farm stands or on their farm. When you buy a pumpkin from a local farm, that money stays local and is reinvested into the community it serves. So, that little jack-o-lantern can do a whole lot-o-good!
Enjoy a family farm day.DD Ranch’s Pumpkin Patch is offered with a side of pony riding and tons of other fun things to do. If you’re wanting to pick more than just pumpkins, then visit Well Rooted Farms U-Pick. And if you’d rather grab a pre-picked pumpkin and some tasty snacks, then check out Schilling’s Garden Market. Extend your pumpkin hunting, cider sipping journey by staying the night at Wine Down Ranch and get lost in a Corn Maize the next day.
Check out the High Desert Food Trail for a year-round, self-guided food tour of Central Oregon. These trails include farm visits and restaurant stops along your journey through the high desert. You can choose between one of our speciality curated itineraries or make your own adventure!
Fill Your Totes & Pantry
Many people associate the end of summer with the end of fresh, local produce, but we’re here to say “don’t put away those produce bags yet”! The Bend Farmers Market goes until October 12th. After that, get your groceries from Central Oregon Locavore, Schoolhouse Produce, The Stand at Mahonia Gardens, and more. Find other local food vendors and restaurants at getataste.org.
Plan your Next Meal
Planning your meals around what’s in season is not only good for the local food economy, but also a fun way to try new things! Our Central Oregon Seasonality Chart can help you to plan your next meal. Or use our Cooking Counts, to find delicious recipes, orcheck out our recent article about preserving foods. Fall is a good time of year to think about buying a 1/4 or 1/2 share of livestock. This is often the busiest time for ranchers to get their meat processed for direct-to-consumer sales, especially for farmers that grass-finish their meat producers. So, keep shopping local and have fun trying some new recipes that will for sure become a fall favorite.
Fall is often the unsung season of Central Oregon. Sure, summer is beautiful with refreshing river floats and of course the winter has snow activities for days, but there’s something about the fall season here that is just magical. Schilling’s Garden Market hosts Pumpkin Succulent Centerpiece Workshops and a Fall Farmers Market. Enjoy a Rainshadow Organics Fall Farm to Table Meal that boasts the bounty of autumn. Central Oregon Veterans Ranch is having their Harvest Festival on October 8th, where Veterans get a free pumpkin and the community can come together and celebrate their military loved ones.
Fill Your Pantry is a community bulk buying farmers market created so YOU can fill up your pantry, freezer, and root cellar full of great local products for the winter. These events and more bring the high desert alive and reminds us all of the importance of lifting each other up and celebrating a season’s change.
We hope these resources will help you get in the fall mood. Many of our producers have to get pretty creative during their shoulder seasons to continue to sustain themselves. We can help support our farmers and ranchers during this season by going to their events, shopping at the stands and stores that carry their goods, and sharing these resources with others. Spread the word — it’s fall y’all!