11 fall events for the engaged eater

Harvest celebrations, the science of beer and an art tour through scenic farmland. Madison's going all out for fall gatherings around food.
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Photo by Emma Waldinger

Harvest celebrations, the science of beer and an art tour through scenic farmland. Madison’s going all out for fall gatherings around food. Check out these events that engage the tastebuds and build gratitude for the annual harvest.

Oktoberfest at Essen Haus
There’s sure to be bier, live music and lots of lederhosen at Essen Haus this Saturday. Participate in a proper Oktoberfest celebration and feel like you’ve been transported to Germany. Prost! Saturday, Sept. 24, noon to 8 p.m., 514 E. Wilson St., find details here

Monroe Street Festival
Monroe Street Festival is back for a 43rd year. While there will be all kinds of free events, offerings, art and music all down the block, several food businesses will run fall food and drink specials, including Bavarian style pretzels at Bloom Bake Shop and a special pumpkin sundae at The Chocolate Shoppe. Garth’s Brew Bar will also host the September edition of Art at Garth’s with local artists set up at the bar to chat about their work over a beer. Saturday, Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.to 5 p.m., Monroe Street, all of the events and specials can be found on Monroe Street’s website

Fermenting Flavors: The Art and Science Behind Big Beer
Giant Jones Brewing Co. invites you to tour the art and science behind beer. Brewer and owner Jessica Jones is host, and she’ll teach attendees what goes into making a perfect brew, from ingredients to the process and fermentation. Take this opportunity to sample some of Giant Jones’ offerings and learn how to pair food and beer. Participants will go home with beer and chocolate to enjoy later. Saturday, Sept. 24 2:30 to 4 p.m., 931 E. Main St, Ste 9, find tickets at Giant Jones Brewing Co.’s website

Water and Food Sovereignty at Brittingham Park
One Water Madison and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District will host a celebration of food, water and agriculture. Head to Brittingham Park on Lake Monona for free food, a harvest share table and discounted kayak rentals at Brittingham Boats. Farmer Dan Cornelius of Yowela Farm (short for Yowela?talí^ or “gentle wind” in Oneida) will be speaking about food sovereignty — a community or group’s right to produce their own food, in an ecologically sustainable way, and have control over the means of production — and will provide a dessert made from traditional Indigenous ingredients. Saturday, Sept. 24, 4:30 p.m., 829 W. Washington Ave., find more details here

The Cider Farm Fall Orchard Tour
The Cider Farm will offer two opportunities to visit the apple orchard this fall. Take a tour and get an insider’s look into the orchard and cidery’s story, including its commitment to organic and environmental stewardship. Then taste three ciders made from the orchard’s unique apple varieties and catch a glimpse of the apple press as it turns apples into cider. Stick around afterward for a picnic on the landscape. Sunday, Sept. 25 or Sunday, Oct. 2, 2 to 3 p.m., 7258 Kelly Road, Mineral Point, purchase tickets here

WormFarm Institute’s Farm/Art DTour
The WormFarm Institute encourages “fellow wanderers” to “celebrate live culture in all its forms.” This year, it will be hosting its 9th annual biennial Farm/Art DTour: a 50-mile, self-guided driving tour that winds through Sauk County farmland. The tour brings together art and agriculture to explore the artistry that emerges from tending the land. Encounter art installations and performances, roadside poetry, field notes, great local food and drink, and appreciate the landscape as you drive. Pick up a DTour map at the Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce or Kraemer Library & Community Center in Plain, Wisconsin, or download a simplified map on Wormfarm Institute’s website. Saturday, Oct. 1 through Monday, Oct. 10

Farley Center Fall Fest
The Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability in Verona will host an open house for the community. Experience the process of pressing apple cider from picking apples to running them through the Farley Center’s antique cider press. There will be tours of the Natural Path Sanctuary (natural green burial grounds), the farm and the beehives, along with live music from Too Sick Charlie and Eric De Los Santos on the marimba. Farley Center beekeepers and farmers will be selling honey and organic vegetables and Madame Chu Delicacies and El Sabor Puebla will be vending food, drinks and sauces. Sunday, Oct. 2, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2299 Spring Rose Road, Verona, find more information here

Allen Centennial Garden’s Harvest Folk Festival
Harvest is an annual time celebrated around the world. The Harvest Folk Festival will include music, dancing and storytelling that highlight harvest traditions from Dejope (Madison) and the crops, cuisines and cultures of African American, Indigenous and Hmong community partners through the Kitchen Garden project. This year’s kitchen garden at Allen Centennial grew diverse crops from the Afro-Diasporic, Hmong and Indigenous “three sisters” traditions. Student research will also be on display focusing on the importance of harvest festivals to communities around the world. This event is free and open to the public. Saturday, Oct. 8, noon to 6 p.m., 620 Babcock Drive, find more information here

FairShare CSA Coalition’s Farm Fare
For the past 30 years, FairShare CSA Coalition has been working hard to connect eaters and farmers, supporting access to fresh, affordable food and the livelihoods of small CSA (community supported agriculture) farms. FairShare will host a “culinary fun-raiser” at Sprouting Acres farm to celebrate three decades. There will be live music, drinks, wood-fired pizza, salad and dessert using ingredients sourced from FairShare farms. A silent auction will offer a chance to win big prizes. Saturday, Oct. 15, 4 to 7 p.m., 1746 WI-73, Cambridge, purchase tickets on FairShare’s website

Fall Lecture: Restoring Healthy Food Connections on Madison’s South Side
The Arboretum’s fall lecture series includes a presentation from Robert Pierce, owner and farmer, at Neighborhood Food Solutions, or NFS, and manager of the South Madison Farmers Market. For many years, Pierce has been an advocate for developing access to fresh, affordable food for his neighbors in Madison’s multi-ethnic south side. Eventually, he founded NFS to build awareness in the community around the economic, social, environmental and health impacts of food. Pierce will discuss two programs, including NFS, that are working to strengthen Madison communities. Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 to 8:30 p.m., 1207 Seminole Highway, fall lectures are held in the Arboretum’s Visitor Center auditorium and are free of charge

P&P Makeshop Fall Market + Urban Pumpkin Patch
It’s a fall parking lot party at the P&P Makeshop (next door to Pasture and Plenty). Shop the Makeshop makers’ products while enjoying live music and trick-or-treating with the makers. There will be plenty of festive activities, including a DIY caramel apple bar, pumpkin bowling and an urban pumpkin patch. The Common Pasta food truck will add to the fun. Sunday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2421 University Ave., find all the details on Pasture and Plenty’s website

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