Friday, October 18, 2013

Valley Girl

A few pumpkins at The Dill Farm
Last Sunday, we loaded up the car with a bunch of kids and headed to the Annapolis Valley. From mid-Sept until late Oct, it's a busy spot on the weekends and if you want to do an activity like a corn maze or apple picking, you best get there early to avoid the crazy crowds.

We have a route.. we first head to Cosman and Whidden Honey just outside Wolfville to pick up some delicious local honey. We also buy it at the Seaport Farmer's Market in Halifax, but we like to stock up when we're in the Valley. We then head over to Elderkin's Farm Market just a few kilometres down the road to grab some fresh - usually still warm from the oven - rolls or bread. (Additional note - if you like sticky buns, pick up a pack at Elderkin's as they are incredible!) At that point, bread meets honey and the car is quiet.. Or we hop out somewhere along the route and enjoy the autumn weather and scenic views as we picnic on the sweet treat.

This year, we also visited a family favourite - The Dill Farm in Windsor. This is where Howard Dill began his breeding experiments to create giant pumpkins. It's a 'can't miss' destination in autumn - especially with a carful of kids. A few photos of some of the sights from the Dill Farm are below.. as well as the last stop on our day in the Valley - Luckett Vineyards.

Opened in 2010, this relatively new attraction is already well established with AMAZING food, views and - of course - wine. Even owner Pete Luckett was in attendance, chatting with some of the brood of children we brought with us. We picked up some cheese, wandered around the vineyard and took in the scenic views of the Gaspereau Valley. If you're looking for a great spot for lunch, look no further.

Here are some of the visuals from the day..

Next year I want to grow these elongated giant pumpkins - so awesome!
(and FYI, The Dill Farm sells seed for dozens of types of pumpkins)
Massive watermelons! That sucker on the bottom left came
home with us.. 58 pounds of deliciousness. 
A close up of an 116 pound pumpkin. HUGE!
Of course, there were plenty of giant squash too!
And giant pumpkins.. talk about gargantuan gourds! 
My grandma always made squash pie.. so good. Here's a
recipe on display at the Dill Farm.
A fun Halloween vignette at The Dill Farm.
See the rubber rats in the birdbath?
Luckett Vineyards - they have Dinosaur Kale in their
shrub and perennial beds. Love it!
What? Did I mention that I love Dinosaur Kale?
My favourite small tree (Cornus kousa 'Satomi')
with my favourite kale! 
Walking down from the parking lot toward the store/
restaurant. Dazzling fall pots.
A closer look at one of the mum pots - what's that on the right
with the dark foliage??
It's Black Pearl ornamental pepper - edible,
but super duper hot!! 
A sense of scale for the tiny peppers.
What a great idea for a fall pot. 
The peppers turn red as they mature. 
Wandering down the vineyard, looking for the phone booth.
Ok, it is a vineyard, so I better post some grape photos!
Protected from the birds.
Found the phone booth - it works!! 
Figs too! Ridiculously exciting. When the trees
go dormant in late autumn, they are moved
to a sheltered spot until spring. Temp shouldn't
dip much below freezing.
The fig foliage is beginning to turn. 
A terrible photo, but the trees were loaded with figs -
hundreds on each tree! 
A final look down the hill to the vineyard and the view
of the valley. Wish I had room in my garage for
these figs - I might need a forklift though. :)


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)