By Tari Gunstone
This year’s 37th Harvest Fest landed on a day that could not have felt more quintessentially Autumn. Saturday’s foggy sun shone through the mossy columns of big leaf Maples in their orange and yellow glory and the sound of mandolins and banjos carried through the pathway as Evergreen students and Olympia community members walked through the woods to the Organic Farm to celebrate the Fall festivities. This year the student organizers from Evergreen’s community gardens and Demeter’s garden permaculture club rallied together a rich assortment of activities and offerings.
The traditional pumpkin carving station was set up with adults and kids alike creating ghoulish and silly faces. Free tea was served from an eclectically decorated trailer converted to into the Jasmine Dragon Tea Lounge and cups of fresh pressed cider were passed out in the hundreds from the farm’s orchard apples. The Natural Building Club helped people get good and messy with their hands as they taught them how to build miniature forts and statues with natural cob materials. Festival goers could pick up a batch of vegan donuts named after zodiac signs from the Flaming Eggplant and go sit on the hay bales to watch live music at the outdoor stage.
A darling witch in a black raincoat sold fresh farm produce including braided onion garlands adorned with colorful straw flowers and miniature “popping corn” corn on the cobs. Groups of friends strolled around the farm grounds and gardens, admiring all that’s left of the growing season while stopping to pet the farm’s attention loving cat, Butch. The Herbal Medicine Club hosted a fire cider workshop to teach the community a simple yet zesty folk remedy to kick winter colds and flus (recipe given below). A student shared his secret to perfectly fermented sauerkraut and a recent graduate helped participants bake pumpkin pie from scratch at her baking workshop. Cinderella pranced by me with her golden oyster trophy from winning the oyster shucking competition put on by the Shellfish Club.
For the hungry there were tamales from Tamale Fusion and pumpkin bisque from Evergreen’s food services. Local herbalist Sean Croke of Understory Apothecary sold tinctures and wild medicinal mushrooms and an open air art studio showcased local artisan goods. The crowds walked away with jack-o-lanterns tucked under their arms, handcrafted goodies, full bellies, and newfound knowledge, having fully celebrated the things we love so much about this season in our lives– sharing, food, and a little bit of spookiness and play.
Folk Fire Cider Recipe
A traditional folk remedy to boost the immune system. Drink a tablespoon or two of this spirited libation a few times a day when you are feeling sickness coming on. Fire Cider is an anti-inflammatory, it boosts your immune system, it is antibacterial and antiviral, it works as a digestive aid, and it is both antioxidant-rich and energizing. It’s a lifesaver!
+ 1/2 cup fresh grated/chopped organic ginger root
+ 1 large organic onion, chopped
+ 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
+ 2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped (with seeds)
+ organic apple cider vinegar
+ honey to taste
If you’d like, you could also add grated fresh horseradish, turmeric, cayenne, lemon, peppercorn, rosemary or other kitchen herbs, echinacea root. You can get as spicy or creative with fire cider as you want!
1. Put all chopped ingredients in a quart-sized glass jar.
2. Pour the apple cider vinegar in the jar until all of the ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the jar’s top.
3. Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal (it will rust), or use a plastic lid if you have one. Shake well.
4. Label with date and store in a dark, cool place for two weeks to a month. Shake your jar daily with good intentions.
5. Once it’s ready, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquidy goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Add honey for taste.
6. Store in refrigerator and drink as needed.