Can you describe your favorite thing about fall? Would it be picking pumpkins, jumping carefree into a pile of crisp leaves, admiring the brilliant riots of color in our national forests and grasslands, eating fall vegetables, or something else entirely?
You can celebrate fall in all of these ways at the 7th annual USDA Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the People’s Garden, at the USDA Farmers Market and along 12th Street right next to the market. Take advantage of the last opportunity this year to enjoy what’s in season from pumpkins to apple cider at the USDA Farmers Market located at the corner of 12th Street and Independence Ave, SW in Washington, D.C.
The day will be filled with what makes fall so special from favorite activities to smells and flavors to the riot of colors and so much more – all free and fun for the whole family. Here’s a list of the planned events:
- Don’t miss a chance to enter the Halloween costume contest at 11 a.m. at the yellow information tent in the USDA Farmers Market to win prizes. Bring your dog for a chance to win best “Howl-A-Ween” costume.
- Meet adoptable dogs and cats aboard The Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League’s mobile adoption vehicle called Adopt Force One.
- Buzz over to observe honeybees at work in a glass enclosed observation hive, taste honey from the People’s Garden Apiary and talk with beekeepers from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Bee Research Laboratory.
- Play “inspector” and work alongside staff from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program to help with the candling and grading of eggs by hand. What is candling? Candling is the process of using light to help determine the quality of an egg.
- Explore DC Central Kitchen’s Truck Farm, a traveling, edible exhibit that allows D.C.'s urban youth to really “dig in” to the source of the food that fuels their growing.
- Pet a potbelly pig, sheep, goats and other farm animals in the People’s Garden.
- Pick and paint a pumpkin to take home, play games like squash bowling and get free temporary vegetable tattoos.
- Learn how to buy, clean, store, and cook with mushrooms from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at VegU (PDF, 12.1 MB). Many different types of mushrooms will be on display, along with recipes, nutrition information, tips and tastings thanks to the American Mushroom Institute and the Mushroom Council.
- Try a variety of raw apples to help you seek out your favorite or a new-to-you apple variety thanks to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia.
- Not sure what to do with that harvest? Talk with experts from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for food storage and holiday cooking tips.
- Buy prepared foods for lunch or snacks and fall’s freshest produce like squash, apples, sweet potatoes and cauliflower from more than 30 vendors who are farmers and small business owners in the District, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania at the USDA Farmers Market.
- Ask experts from the U.S. Forest Service why as days shorten and temperatures become crisp, the green palette of summer leaves transforms into the fall foliage palette of reds, oranges, golds, and browns.
- Meet local artist and illustrator Marcella Kriebel, whose art celebrates a variety of food related themes, from broccoli to cheese. Her collection of watercolor prints, titled Illustrated Feast is fun to mix and match, to make your own DC created art series.
- And much more!
For updates about this event, follow us on Twitter @PeoplesGarden and @USDA_AMS.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Transportation and Marketing Program oversees the USDA Farmers Market & People’s Garden Initiative for the Department.