Photograph by Keith Mosher www.kamproductions.com
Fall is a bountiful time for local farmers’ markets and produce stands. It’s also time for some pickin’ and a grinnin’.
The end of summer doesn’t mean farewell to local fruits and vegetables. The season for fresh produce kicks into full gear this month, with many orchards, farmers’ markets, produce stands and pick-your-own places remain busy through fall.
The folks at Elmer’s Market near Georgetown report that sweet corn is available well into September. Yellow squash, sweet potatoes, pears and apples are also in season.
Any farmers’ market worth its weight in mums and hay bales also has truckloads of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Much to Dottie Hamstead’s chagrin, Elmer’s will have plenty of white pumpkins, too. Hamstead, 77, has owned and managed Elmer’s with her husband, John, for more than 50 years. She is, shall we say, traditional.
“A pumpkin is supposed to be orange,” she says. “They ask for those yellow watermelons, too. Watermelon is supposed to be red inside.”
Turning from gourds to gobblers, T.A. Farms in Wyoming is ready to talk turkey—3,000 free-range birds, to be specific. The all-white hybrids receive no growth stimulants, no medication and dine only on T.A. Farms’ homemade feed. Place your order soon—T.A.’s turkeys sell out every year.
Like many agri-destinations, Milburn Orchard, just over the state line in Elkton, Maryland, lures customers with a gift shop, hayrides, pony rides, goat-feeding and corn mazes. But Milburn is famous for its U-pick apples, offering varieties such as Bazooka Gold, Red and Golden Delicious and Fuji. After a day of picking, there’s nothing better than washing down one of Milburn’s warm apple cider doughnuts with its homemade cider.
For a list of local farmers’ markets and produce stands, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture at http://126.96.36.199/dda/scounty.php. For a rundown of seasonal, state-sponsored farmers’ markets, visit http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/DE_FRMVENS.shtml. —Drew Ostroski