Get Outside & Explore: Early Autumn Nature

By Crystal Stevens

With cooler temperatures ahead, September is a great month to get out and hike the Chub Trail, Castlewood Park, Hawn State Park, Babler State Park, Mastadon State Park, Queeny Park, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Route 66 State Park, or Pierre Marquette Park.

Biking the Great River Road is an epic adventure fun for the whole family. There are shorter stretches near Clifton Terrace Park for safer bike trails for families with small children. The Grants Trail, Katy Trail, The Great Rivers Greenway are all wonderful trails to take a nice early autumn ride.

Chicken of the woods, Hen of the woods, Giant puff ball, and Oyster mushrooms are a few common edible mushrooms that grow in Missouri.

Paw Paws – found in the shaded understory of forests and near ravines or streams. They resemble small green mangoes and taste like banana custard.

Persimmons – found along the forest edge, near glades or prairies, also near bottomlands or near streams. They are a small orange fruit. They are very soft when ripe and often are gathered from under the tree after they fall. Firm fruits holding tightly to branches are bitter.

Dandelion greens and Root, Burdock Root and Plantain leaf can be harvested in September for food and medicine and are easy to identify.

Let the season of autumn commence!

Pick Apples!
A childhood pastime of mine is heading to Eckert’s Orchard with my family to pick a few bushels of apples and take them home to bake fresh pies and cobblers. There are plenty of apple orchards near St. Louis to choose from.

Visit a Farmers Market!
This is the best time of year at the farmers market! Come see us at Tower Grove Farmers Market every Saturday morning to stock up on the final summer flavors of the season such as vine ripened heirloom tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, okra, greens, squash and more!

Crystal Stevens is a regular contributor to The Healthy Planet magazine. She and her husband Eric run LaVista CSA Farm in Godfrey, Ill.