Gwinnett is ALWAYS Great – no matter the time of year. But add fiery shades of red, orange and yellow to the trees, delicious fall breezes to the air and a wide array of fun and festive events in our Main Street districts and you’d be hard-pressed to find a community that could rival ours for “autumnal awesomeness”! The change of seasons shouldn’t mean you can take a vacation from sustainability. To help you maintain that eco-friendliness all season long, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has outlined five frightfully simple ways to enjoy a sustainable spooky season.
- Source Your Pumpkins Locally: From farmers markets and pumpkin patches to going directly to the farmer him or herself, it’s easy to source your pumpkins locally. Not only does it save gas and reduce your carbon footprint to keep your pumpkin hunt close to home, but it also supports our local farmers. GC&B Program Coordinator – Stephanie Marquardt – is also the proud owner of a farm in Walton Count. Her tip for picking the perfect pumpkin – bearing in mind that some types are grown for baking pumpkin pies and others are ideal for carving – is to apply the same technique that you would for picking the ideal watermelon in the summer. You want to hear a hollow sound when you give them a tap. You also want to look for a green stem and no blemishes that could shorten the “life” of your pumpkin or might indicate bug infestation. Once Halloween has come and gone, compost your jack-o-lantern. Don’t have a compost pile? Fall is a great time of year to start one! Hot Trend Alert: Heirloom pumpkins are all the rage this year – especially in shades of pink and mint.
- Plant a Fall Garden: Stephanie recommends ordering your seeds from Georgia-based Hoss Tools, which offers a wide variety of heirloom seeds. She suggests ordering the ‘green magic broccoli’ seeds which are heat tolerant and grow well in our zone: 8A, as well as the visually stunning graffiti and flame star varieties of cauliflower – the first is a gorgeous shade of purple while the other is a bright orange. They taste like regular white cauliflower but look great on a charcuterie or veggie tray. Stephanie also recommends carrots, garlic and onions as great cold weather crops – they require very little attention and will be ready to harvest in the Spring. Lastly, kale and green lettuce enjoy the cold as well – the colder the temps, the better the leaves! They are much sweeter and less bitter when grown through the winter. If you had a summer garden, now is a great time to can anything remaining – if not you may lose it. This is the time of year when Stephanie cans her remaining tomatoes, makes homemade salsa, pickles beets and more. Canning is a great way to enjoy your organic, pesticide free crops all year round! Don’t have a green thumb? Look to farmers markets and local farms to source your fresh produce. Find a list of Farmers Markets from our friends at Explore Gwinnett here: https://bit.ly/3dcSFsI.
- Take a Spooky Stroll with Some Gwinnett Ghosts or Get Lost in a Corn Maze: From the Buford Corn Maze to the Aurora Theatre Ghost Tours in historic Lawrenceville, a great way to enjoy the scary side of the season while minimizing your carbon footprint is to stick close to home. Besides the obvious corn maze, the Buford Corn Maze also boasts hay rides, kids’ CORNer, pony rides, animal viewing, pumpkin patch and Haunted Forest. The Lawrenceville Ghost Tours showcase a slew of specters during a 90-minute tour around the beautiful historic courthouse square and past storefronts restored to their turn-of-the-century charm. It’s a unique opportunity to visit some of Lawrenceville’s most interesting places and hear the stories behind the most bizarre events that have taken place in Metro Atlanta’s oldest city, hauntingly told with the charm and personality of a real Southern storyteller.
- Go Leaf Peeping at an Award-Winning Gwinnett Park: Many Gwinnett parks boast miles of tree-lined walking trails. Put on a jacket and some jogging shoes and go exploring! Make a bucket list of parks you’d like to visit this season and tick each one off until you fine your favorite. You can find the full list of Gwinnett Parks – along with their amenities – HERE: https://bit.ly/3vrQx7Z
- Make Plans to Attend America Recycles Day: Scheduled to take place Saturday, November 6 at Coolray Field – Home of the Gwinnett Stripers, America Recycles Day is a community event hosted by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and our friends at Gwinnett County Solid Waste Management. You can spend part of spooky season collecting items that can’t be placed in the curbside bin to bring for proper recycling, such as oil & latex paint, electronics and tires. Paper shredding will also be available, as well as clothing and sneaker collection. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3o8Uq17.
For even more tips, as well as our list of programs and events, be sure to bookmark www.GwinnettCB.org. From all of us here at Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, we wish you and yours a BEAUTIFUL Fall season!