Bethel’s Harvest Fest and “Chowdah” cook-off is coming up on Sept. 21. If you have never been, you need to make plans to go this year. The festival isn’t just about the “chowdah” and apple pie contest. There are all kinds of fresh produce, cooked and baked goods, and arts and crafts. Other activities include chainsaw wood carving, book signings, and free horse-drawn carriage rides. Most of the activities take place on the Bethel Common on Sept. 21, but there will be other activities throughout the area that weekend. Check the website at www.bethelharvestfest.com.
Don’t wait for Harvest Fest to find fresh produce. Farm production is at its peak right now and there are farm stands everywhere in the local area (Route 2, Route 26, Intervale Road, and Route 232). I stopped at Swain’s farm stand on Sunday, lured in by the wagonloads of pumpkins. Most people think of Halloween or pie when they see piles of fresh pumpkins, but I think pumpkins are best when they are roasted, mashed, or made into spicy soup. Swain’s also has corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and apples from Lyon’s Orchard.
Apples are available at roadside stands. I picked apples at Gibson Orchards on the North Road on Sunday. They have over forty kinds of apples. The orchard is beautiful; the grass beautifully manicured and the trees loaded with fruit. I love early-season apple picking when even I (a short person) can pick the fruit off the lowest branches. Gibson’s also has cider and honey made on the premises.
On Sunday I also picked high-bush blueberries at Blueberry Heaven in Milan, NH. I’ve mentioned the farm here before. The berries are herbicide and pesticide free. Since it’s September, I expected the berries to be smaller and less abundant, but the bushes were covered with large, ripe berries that seemed to just drop off the stems into our buckets. The owners say it’s not unusual to pick berries through September.
The Bethel Library is raffling off gift certificates to local restaurants. Fifteen restaurants generously donated gift certificates to help the library raise money. There will be three drawings for packages of five gift certificates. The drawing will take place at the Harvest Fest on Sept. 21. Tickets are available from library trustees or at the Bethel Library, 6 Broad Street. Tickets cost $2 each or 3 tickets for $5.
If you have news to share, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 824-2483.