What are your fall favorites? From soup to nuts, the Olympia Farmers Market has your back! Are you hoping for apples to cover with caramel, late summer corn or a selection of potted plants to transplant in your yard? Summer has not fully said goodbye, but it’s fading to be replaced with the autumnal glories of chrysanthemums, dahlias and fall produce. High season continues through the end of October with the market being open Thursday – Sunday. After October, for the holiday season, the Olympia Farmers Market will be open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Consider Fall Planting with Thoughts from Burnt Ridge Nursery

Michael and Carolyn Dolan, owners of Burnt Ridge Nursery, have been in the business for 43 years. Late summer/early fall is an optimal time to put plants in the ground. “We are getting into the rainy season again. The soil now is as warm as it gets,” explains Michael. For optimal root growth, these are the two essential elements: soil temperature and moisture. Plants can expand beyond the confines of their containers. “The means that the transplanted roots can have several months of root growth before it gets too cold, which is a big advantage!” he advises.

Steve Furr, of Burnt Ridge Nursery standing by jars and bottles at his Olympia Farmer's Market booth.
At the Olympia Farmers Market, Steve Furr, of Burnt Ridge Nursery, can assist with selecting the right trees or ground cover for your home. Fruit producing trees are pleasurable to have. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Native Plants for Home Yards and Gardens

The selection this time of year may not be as extensive as the spring but there’s still quite a bit. You can find fig, grapes, mulberry, kiwi, hazelnut and apple trees. “Our specialties are native plants, fruits and nuts,” Michael says. You can also find conifers, sequoias, and Sitka spruce. There are native northwest plants for your outdoor spaces such as for salal berries, Oregon grapes, and native oaks. Everything is in pots.

Burnt Ridge offers fall food, too. “We do a mix of produce including blueberries, mulberries and kiwi berries,” says Michael. Soon there will be grapes. “Whatever is ripe,” he adds. It’s the time for Asian pears and plums. Burnt Ridge also bottles its fruit wines and its own applesauce.

Steve Furr, who works at the market and at the nursery, likes chestnuts. He roasts them and grinds them into flour. “It’s a perennial source of carbohydrates, as they come from a mature tree, which is unlike wheat,” he explains. He had samples of kiwi berries, which are an amazing fruit.

Fall Produce is Packed with Flavor with a Bonus of Abundant Nutrients

Have you met the kohlrabi? It an oft overlooked cruciferous about the size of an orange with leafy stems flowing from one end. Smaller kohlrabies may be more flavorful and tender, yet the large ones are versatile for eating, too. You will be getting fiber, vitamin C, potassium and even protein. You do need to peel it whether you are cooking it or eating it raw. Raw shred can be used for slaw or any salad for crunch. If you decide to cook them, the choices are rather like a potato: Roasted, steamed, fried, mashed or boiled. Not surprisingly, the internet has enticing recipes to tempt chefs from beginner to advanced.

JJ Neville holding up a cheddar cauliflower. There are other greens on a table in front of him
Skokomish Valley Farms’ JJ Neville loves the cheddar cauliflower. Vendors at the Olympia Farmers market offer many tasty fall vegetables. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Consider the ubiquitous greens, which are surprisingly easy to add into your regular meals. They pack high-powered nutrition for daily well-being. Did you know a bag of chopped greens added at the very end of your stir-fry will almost disappear, but add color, flavor and yumminess. They work as well in a soup or stew. I like greens in my smoothie, but for some people curly kale just might leave too many particles. Start with spinach instead.

Versatile Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables mellow and sweeten as they caramelize in the oven. A large pan or two roasted at the beginning of the week will give you many options as the days roll by. Add an egg for breakfast or use as a side dish. Top with meat, cheese, pasta and/or sauce. Root vegetables are plentiful: beets, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, celery root, Jerusalem artichokes and more. Be adventurous. Bask in the possibilities of fall flavors.

a table with an assortment of labeled vegetables on it
Rising River Farms is one vendor at the Olympia Farmers Market with gorgeous fall produce. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Applesauce Hack

Rough cut apples and take out the core. Leave on the peels. Cook in your crock pot on low. Don’t add water. The longer you cook it the softer the skins get. A potato masher works well at the end to smash the soft skins. If you forget and leave the lid off and the liquid evaporates, you’ll have apple butter.

Calendar Add: Harvest Celebration Saturday, October 28

Bring your costumed children for vendor trick-or-treating. You can watch a cooking demo with fall produce put on by local community organizations. “It’s a nice time to celebrate the end of the high season and get ready to welcome in the holiday season,” says Nora Hantula, assistant market manager.

close up of a bouquet of bright flowers
Fresh flowers bring the glories of autumn into your home. Bring home a bunch or two from the Olympia Farmers Market. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Head to the Olympia Farmers Market

Grab your jacket and a warm beverage and stroll the ever-changing aisles of our Olympia Farmers Market. Many vendors participate in the SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. There is a free parking lot on the north side of the market. Visit the Olympia Farmer Market’s website for more information. You can also follow InstagramFacebook and Twitter or via email with the newsletter sign-up.


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