It’s hard to believe we’re already one month into the fall season. This time of year in the Chicago area is a special time of temperate weather, beautiful colors and tons of opportunities to Do Green. Do Good.
Though we will be sad to see the leaves and temperatures drop, we are so excited to be inching closer to the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano’s, coming up in March. Just as our Show greets spring and all the exciting potential that comes with warm weather, fall is the time to say goodbye with a last call for outdoor activities as we cherish the food and fun that come with this fleeting season.
Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate fall:
- Shop Seasonally
Fall is an ideal time to stock up on delicious and hearty seasonal produce, which doubles as a great way to stay local and sustainable. Some of our favorites that are in their peak now include:Apples, arugula, Brussels sprouts, celery, eggplant, potatoes, squash and many more. Check out a full list before you make your grocery list.
Often, the best place to find in-season items are farmers markets across the city and its surrounding suburbs. The outdoor markets typically run through October, but a number of them take it inside for winter. Fortunately, you can always find great seasonal produce and fun from our presenting sponsor, Mariano’s. Visit your local store for more information on the “All about Apples Cooking Seminar,” pumpkin bowling, cocktail classes and more.
Food and fall fashion aren’t the only items in season! Now is the time to stock up on fall bulbs and plant them before the ground freezes. There are thousands of varieties of bulbs, from tulips to daffodils to garlic, and they each come with specific planting recommendations, but generally mid-October to Thanksgiving is a safe bet. Space them two inches apart, 5 to 8 inches deep. The best part about fall bulbs? They’re novice-friendly and require minimal work for a bountiful spring garden!
- Hit Up Eli’s Cheesecake Halloween Fest
If you love cheesecake and Halloween, this is a don’t-miss opportunity. (And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love those things?) Our feature garden sponsor, Eli’s Cheesecake, is pulling out all the stops during their four-day festival, including free cheesecake buffets, a pumpkin patch & other produce, live music, a fall marketplace and more. Taking place October 23–26th at their Chicago headquarters, this delicious festival is sure to please visitors of all ages.
- Get Outside!
Bundle up, grab the family and head outside to pick your own pumpkins, pears and apples! While you’re at it, why not go for an old-fashioned wagon ride? The list of possible places to visit is endless, but here are some of our favorites:
Kuiper’s Family Farm in Maple Park, IL
Apples, pumpkins, pig races and a corn maze
Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL
Wagon rides, zip line, pumpkin patch, corn maze and giant slides
Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch in Hampshire, IL
Pumpkin patch, apple cider donuts and pony rides
County Line Orchard, Hobart, IN
Apples, pumpkins, wagon rides, animal farm, “Moo-Choo” barrel ride, mazes featuring Chicago sports teams
Smith Pumpkin Farm, Kenosha, WI
Hand-painted pumpkins, giant jumping pumpkin pillow, face painting, haunted forest
- Visit Navy Pier
When in doubt, we always turn to Navy Pier. Beyond hosting our lovely Chicago Flower & Garden Show, their fall activities calendar is stacked with fun things to do. If you’re into zombies, boats or being scared, you have to check out their Zombie Containment Haunted House—located on a barge in Lake Michigan off the Pier.
If you’re more into green than ghouls, check out the Chicago Green Festival, October 24–26. Featuring tons of products and services that will help you live a more sustainable life; it’s a great way to learn how you can Do Green. Do Good.That’s not all, check out everything else Navy Pier is offering to celebrate the season, from trick-or-treating and costume contests to fireworks and haunted tours.
- Get Crafty!
What is it about the fall that fuels the urge to craft? There’s nothing quite like hunkering down on a cool fall day and cranking out some seasonal crafts. Gourd-and-cornstalk fall displays, centerpieces, wreaths, Halloween costumes and decorations and seasonal menus—nothing is off-limits! We love browsing Pinterest for inspiration.
Show partner, Peterson Garden Project, offers a bunch of cool seminars for all experience levels at their Fearless Food Kitchen, including “Pickling 101—Pickled Green Tomatoes,” “Seasonal Salads 101″ and “Canning 101—Pressure Canning and Boiling Water Bath Demo.” Visit their upcoming events page to learn more!
So there you have it—just a quick list to get you in the seasonal spirit! What are some of your favorite fall activities? And for those of you interested in fast-forwarding to spring, get your tickets to the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show online now and save $2 off the box office price!