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Enjoy the fruits of harvest

Ahh — the crisp air in the morning brings relief from the sultry dog days of summer. Harvest is in full swing as the shortening days urge our crops to come into fruition. A happy time of the year, taking satisfaction from growing and harvesting the fruits of our labors. And when the busy day is done, a cool evening breeze to look forward to.

Autumn also brings the harvest festivals, with an abundance of produce and unique cottage food items. The Carlton County Farmers Market Harvest Festival will be Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our location in front of Premiere Theatre, 904 Minnesota Highway 33 South, Cloquet.

There will be fun activities for the whole family, including a competition beanbag toss, so be sure to practice up. We are inviting guest vendors to join us for the day, and hope to offer our patrons an even better shopping experience — crafty items and tasty treats not regularly seen at the market. Be sure to join us for a fun-filled morning.

The cool temperatures of autumn also bring us a wonderful variety of apples and squash. These are some of the most versatile fruits you can get at the market. You can find recipes from soup to nuts, literally! New varieties appear each week, each with its own unique characteristics for use.

One of my favorite ways to use apples is to make these apple muffins. My mother called them "Sweet Applets" and I have fond memories of grating the apples to help her make them. This is how you do it:

Sweet Applets

Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a medium mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and beat well. To this mixture, alternately add the dry ingredients with 1/3 cup buttermilk, mixing only until just combined after each addition. Fold in 1 1/2 cup grated apples and combine well.

Bake in lined muffin tins at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, brush tops with melted butter and dip into cinnamon sugar. I use 1 teaspoon cinnamon to 1/2 cup sugar. Cool completely to enjoy the full flavor of the apples.

Until next time — happy gardening!