The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry sites that Luzerne County is experiencing the peak of fall foliage (week of October 15th through the 21st, where the best colors are visible on the leaves of trees throughout the area.
The Wyoming Valley always looks spectacular during this time leading up to Halloween. The fall season is a fantastic opportunity for hiking. Here are several hiking and biking trails throughout Luzerne County. The Luzerne County levee trail that starts in Wyoming and ends in Plymouth is a simple, yet beautiful path throughout the Wyoming Valley. Two great options of include circling between Wyoming and Forty or Kingston and Kirby Park. These trails are perfect for a later afternoon/evening walk or bikeride. There is also the Luzerne County National Recreation Trail in Pittston’s Riverfront Park that includes 1.8 miles of trail. An avid hiker can enjoy Ricketts Glen State Park as these trails are more advanced and feature difficult terrain, whereas the casual walker may enjoy Frances Slocum or the Back Mountain Trail (which starts in Luzerne and ends in Shavertown). This also brings a time for new food ideas that your family and friends can enjoy. Now, here are some foods and recipes for you to learn about and check out!
Fall Food Ideas
One of the world’s oldest known crops, squash, is often overlooked by the average consumer. Squash come in many shapes and colors, all part of the genus Cucurbita. Cucurbita maxima consist of winter squash that ripen in the fall and have round, thick stems (buttercup, Hubbard, turban, winter pumpkins). C. moschata are also winter squash that consist of butternuts, musky winter squash, and the cushaw. Lastly is the C. pepo species that are summer squash (zucchini, marrow, courgette, gourds, crookneck, spaghetti squash, and summer pumpkins, all of which ripen in the summer.
Traditionally, Northeastern Native American tribes grew pumpkins, yellow crookneck, patty pans, Boston marrows, and turbans. Some of these Native Americans may have done so right in the Wyoming Valley! The Wyoming Valley’s rich Native American history surely would support such a thought. Cooking any squash is perfect when baked in the oven. Simply cut in half, place cut side down, and bake until tender. Adding olive oil or butter and other seasonings make for a presentable dish. Also, any squash may be topped with brown sugar as a snack. At Green Owl, we currently have butternut and acorn squash available!
Apple Cider is a fall favorite among many people in North America. Its history starts in Roman times when the Romans invaded England around 55BC. Cider was being consumed by locals there, and evidence can still be found today of large circular apple grinding stones buried in the fields. In the U.S., European colonists planted apple trees only 9 years after first landing at Plymouth in 1620. In Colonial America, cider was the most common beverage, and even children drank it in diluted form. Today, apple cider is commonly consumed as a non-alcoholic and perishable drink. Apple cider refers to raw apple juice that hasn’t been filtered to remove pulp and sediments, while apple juice is clear without the pulp and sediment. Apples that contribute to a traditional apple cider include: Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, and Jonagold. Apples that make for a more acidic/sharp cider include McIntosh, Cortland, and Granny Smith.
Here is a recipe for hot apple cider from commonly found apples:
- 6-10 apples
- 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar
- 4 Tbsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp Allspice
1. Quarter the apples and cover them with water in a large pot.
2. Wrap your spices in cheesecloth. Add them, along with the sugar, into the pot.
3. Boil on high heat for 1 hour, then simmer for 2 hours.
4. Remove the spices.
5. Mash the apples and strain them into another container.
Autumn Pork Chops
Lastly, a recipe called Pan Pork Chops with Apples and Onions that contains bone-in pork chops (which can be found at Green Owl) and apples which may have been leftover from apple cider making. This is a traditional Fall dish that is cooked in one pan that consists of fresh herbs and spices. A side dish of potatoes pairs well with this meal. We sell Organic Red Potatoes here at Green Owl.
Prep Time: 10 Mins
Cook Time: 16 Mins
Total Time: 26 Mins
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
- (3) 4 oz bone-in pork chops
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 medium apples
- 1 small red onion
1) Season both sides of pork chops with kosher salt and black pepper. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to large heavy bottomed pan, and heat over MED-HIGH heat. Add pork chops to pan, leaving at least an inch between the chops to ensure even cooking and browning. Sear 3-5 minutes per side, or until pork chops are mostly done. Chops will continue cooking in the sauce later.
2) Remove pork chops to a plate.
3) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together chicken stock and mustard, set aside.
4) Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pan, then add apples and onions. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Stir to combine.
5) Pour in stock mixture, using a wooden spoon to gently scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits (those are full of great flavor)
6) Slide pork chops back into the pan, nestling them down in between the apples.
7) Cook 2-3 minutes, until pork chops are finished cooking and liquid has reduced by half.