A SALUTE TO SEASONAL PRODUCE, PIES AND TURKEY
10955 Upp Road, Graton. 823-4310. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Farm stand is open for the season until the sign is covered).
Follow a gently winding dirt road on the outskirts of Graton to Walker Apples, a farm stand where the people, much like the produce, have their roots set deep in the soil. Hints of the family’s longstanding ties to the area include a resident centenarian Gravenstein apple tree and a 1954 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor. Over 20 varieties of apples stock the farm stand in the fall, incluxding the Bellflower, the Baldwin, the Arkansas Black – and of course, if there are still some left, the Gravenstein. Bought by the bag or the box, their apples are good for eating, canning or baking, and the Walkers can help determine which varieties are best for each use.
HALE’S APPLE FARM & PUMPKIN PATCH
1526 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol. 894-5616. Open daily
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a broad look at the bounty of harvest, visit Hale’s Apple Farm & Pumpkin Patch, located on Highway 116 in Sebastopol. At harvest time, the farm stand swells with heirloom tomatoes, apples and between 20 and 30 types of pumpkins. By late September, squashes suited to baking, carving and display spill over hay bales and wooden pallets set out on the property, including some pumpkin personalities particularly well-suited to Halloween: squat Cinderellas, blue-hued Sweet Meats and Red Warty Thing squashes.
651 Airport Blvd. and Highway 101 (near Fulton Road), Santa Rosa. 544-6141. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Folks at Tierra Vegetables need not look hard for palpable signs of harvest at their 13-acre Santa Rosa property – fall arrives when the scent of peppers hangs heavy in the air. In addition to the eggplant, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts that fill the farm stand from August through late November, Tierra Vegetables offers products to add special spice to holiday dishes: multi-colored peppers, dried chiles and mole kits. Chile jams come in flavors such as rojo, a blend of red Jalapenos and red sweet peppers, and strawberry-chipotle – perfect for spreading on crackers or incorporating into a marinade.
WILLIE BIRD TURKEYS
Retail store located at 5350 Highway 12, Santa Rosa. Information for pickup (will call) orders: 545-2832. Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When the season calls for poultry, Willie Bird Turkeys offers birds suited to be the belles of all harvest gatherings. Local and fresh free-range turkeys are available during the holiday season, as well as smoked duck, quail and Cornish game hens. With his turkey-raising expertise stretching back to the 1960s, owner Willie Benedetti also supplies natural wood-smoked poultry that has earned a place on the menus of first-class hotels, restaurants, airlines and in the Williams-Sonoma food catalogue.
MOM’S APPLE PIE
4550 Gravenstein Hwy. N, Sebastopol. 823-8330. Open Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
We are pie lovers, and here’s one of our favorite venues for procuring pies fit to be the encore of harvest suppers. Mom’s Apple Pie debuted in 1983, when Betty Carr “Mom” opened a pie shop at the urging of her late husband Harry. Using the Gravenstein apples harvested from their property, she started out making one pie a day. Today Mom’s offers more than 16 fruit and cream pies, with flavors ranging from blackberry, wild blueberry and rhubarb to lemon meringue, banana cream and, of course, pumpkin. Fresh, double-crust Gravenstein Apple pies will line the pie racks this fall. Mom’s also offers sugar-free pies, using apple juice concentrate as sweetener.