There’s a distinct autumnal feeling in the air at the moment and one of the best things about this time of year are the local food harvests to look forward to over the coming months;
1. Crete Olive Harvest – Greece and the island of Crete in particular enjoy a diet rich in olive oil; in salads, soups, pastries, in fact most dishes! There are seven million olive trees in Crete and olives have been grown here since 3500 BC. The Cretans live long and healthy lives thanks to such a healthy diet. The olive harvest runs from November to February when the tasty olive crops are eagerly anticipated.
2. Oktoberfest – Underway right now is the world famous Oktoberfest which started back in 1810 as a royal wedding celebration. Starting late September the party continues for 17 days into the middle of October. Each year people flock to indulge in the local brewed beer and traditional Bavarian delicacies such as sausage and whole roasted chicken.
3. White Truffle Festival – The last three weeks of November plays host to the San Miniato National White Truffle Market in Tuscany, Italy. The focus has shifted from the actual truffle hunt made by pigs in centuries gone by, to the actual consumption and enjoyment of the delicacy of white truffle, sniffed out by the truffle dogs. Hit the market and stock up on local truffle butter, truffle oil, truffles in jars; you get the idea.
4. Medellin Coffee Bean Harvest – The South American country of Colombia is packed with traditional coffee bean plantations, producing some of the world’s finest coffees. The rich full-bodied coffee originates in the central region running through Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales. Visitors can witness the harvests for themselves and try roasting the beans and producing coffee. The two harvests each year last for four to eight week during October and November and April and May.
5. Cheese Festival – Head to South Africa in the spring to check out the local cheese festival. The Western Cape venue hosts hundreds of goat’s, sheep’s and cow’s cheese on offer as well as wines, breads and fruits. Bring on the cheese sweats!
6. Himalayan Tea Harvest – Head to India to tour the various tea plantations including Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri. Darjeeling is in the north-east, nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas and the harvest runs from March through to summer as does Assam in the far north east of India. Nilgiri in the south harvests throughout the year and travelers can tour the tea factories, meet the pickers, stay within the tea bungalows and yes, drink plenty of tea!
7. Winter Strawberry Harvest – Florida gets the longest strawberry season in the USA, with crops being picked from December to April. There are thousands of acres at Plant City, home to the winter strawberries and the Florida Strawberry Festival which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.