‘Tis the season for delicious Ohio-grown fruits and veggies! Get your harvest on by taking your family to these local farms for a bountiful supply of fall favorites — and get inspired by all the different ways to enjoy them.
Whether your family’s tastebuds run spicy or sweet, peppers make a delicious fall treat. Cut up the peppers to dip in hummus, or use them as toppings to add a healthy touch to any pizza or taco. Craving stuffed peppers? A search on Pinterest yields more than six million results, so it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of great recipes for your family to enjoy.
Try Rainbow Farms (2464 Townline Road, Madison; 440-259-4924), which offers 15 varieties of mini, sweet and hot peppers (with its most popular selection being sweet yellow Croatians). Rainbow’s Italian Roma and beefsteak tomatoes also are available for picking through mid-September.
Suggested peppers for using: red or green bell peppers, Yellow Croatian peppers, red sweet pimento peppers
From Gala to Granny Smith, U-pick apples await in orchards around Northeast Ohio. Along with making tried-and-true favorites like applesauce and apple pie, families can have some festive fun with an apple dipping dessert party. Just round up different sauces (such as caramel, chocolate or toffee), cut up a bunch of apple slices, and dip the day away with your mini-mes.
Try Patterson Fruit Farm (two locations: 11414 Caves Road, Chesterland; 440-729-1964 and 8765 Mulberry Road, Chesterland; 440-729-9809), a Geauga County classic that offers more than 30 apple varieties.
Oh, raspberries! They’re in season, and they’re ripe for the picking. Snag your own supplies to make jams and jellies in the comfort of home, or get dessert-happy with the wide spectrum of sweets — from tarts to trifles — that can be made from raspberries.
Try Rosby Berry Farm (42 E. Schaaf Road, Brooklyn Heights; 216-661-6102), and be sure to stop by the on-site market, where shoppers rave about the selection of pre-picked strawberries, dill, and pickling cucumbers.
Raspberry Cheese Trifle from Rosby Berry Farm
1 angel food cake, cubed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Cool Whip
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
3 tablespoons red raspberry gelatin
2 cups fresh red raspberries
Combine sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Stir in water. Cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Cool and then add raspberries. Beat cream cheese and Cool Whip together. Fold in cake cubes. Layer cake mixture and then fruit filling alternately ending with fruit filling. Refrigerate overnight.
Juice, jellies and jams, oh my! Make it all with Concord grapes, a classic fall delight. (Your kids’ PB&J sandwiches will never taste better.) Another easy way to enjoy Concord grapes is to roast them, then sprinkle them on a salad or add them to a cheese and charcuterie plate.
Try Covered Bridge Farms/Shimandle’s Grapes (1517 Lafevre Road, Geneva; 440-466-8982), located in Ohio wine country. Each September, its vineyard opens up to visitors for picking, and its blue-ribbon winning Concord grapes are well worth the trip.
Concord Grape Spread
1 ½ C pure Concord grape juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. granulated gelatin, such as Knox
½ C cold water
½ C granulated sugar substitute
Mix grape juice and lemon juice in a heavy pan. Bring to a boil; simmer 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, soak gelatin in cold water. Remove juice from the heat. Add gelatin and sweetener, mix until dissolved. Pour into two half-pint jars. Cover lightly and cool. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator.
Autumn is a time for pumpkin, spice and everything nice — and there’s no need to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy this popular type of squash. Start the day off right with pumpkin pancakes, or an easy parfait layered with vanilla yogurt, granola, and pumpkin puree. At lunch, grill a pumpkin Panini with roasted pumpkin slices, spinach and feta atop ciabatta bread.
Try Mapleside Farms (294 Pearl Road, Brunswick; 330-225-5577), a picturesque 100-acre apple farm known for its annual “Pumpkin Village” that runs throughout fall. Or visit the pick-your-own patches at Sunrise Farm (13115 Kinsman Road, Burton; 440-834-1298) or NickaJack Farms (2955 Manchester Ave. NW, North Lawrence 330-323-9714).
Crispier and more tart than European pears, Asian pears are one of the rare pears that actually ripen on the tree, and they’re growing beautifully right here in Northeast Ohio. Pair blue cheese, Asian pears, and prosciutto for a killer lunch wrap, or make an Asian pear crisp served a la mode with your kids’ favorite vanilla ice cream.
Try Weymouth Farms (2398 Weymouth Road, Hinckley; 216-571-9699), where families can take an orchard tour and go “Asian Pear hunting” with farm staffers for just $5 per person.
Looking for more delicious seasonal fun? Check out our Fall Fun Directory.