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10 Reasons to Love Fall (Not That You Really Need Any)

Fall has officially begun (though the recent heat wave in Southern California will have you thinking otherwise). But there are other signs of a season starting anew, from the earlier sunsets that make you appreciate the days even more to the arrival of pumpkins and gourds in your local groceries.

While summer has always been a season to get outside and explore the world, fall feels like a time to cozy up and nestle in with family and friends. It's a beautiful time for reflection and relaxation before winter actually begins and the year officially ends.

Here are our favorite ways to embrace the season in and out of the home:

1. Go apple picking on a farm in the foothills.
Visit one of the apple farms in Oak Glen and have your pick of not only apples, but also pears, pumpkins, berries, and flowers. (Don't forget to press your own cider at the farm while you're at it!)

2. Expand the apple-making repertoire with all those freshly picked apples.
How about Baked Apples, Apple Clafoutis, Apple Upside-Down Cake, or Candied Caramel Apples?

3. Next to a hot toddy, a hot buttered rum is a cure-all for anything.
You don't have to wait until National Hot Buttered Rum Day (yes, it exists, and it's on January 17) to make a hot buttered rum. Start practicing now with our delectable recipe!

4. Sex up a basic mug of cider.
Mull it over, spice it up, make it hot, spike it good, or mix it up — however you do it, there's no denying that a classic apple cider is the perfect base for your festive add-ins.

5. Make a simmer pot and salivate over the smells all day.
Skip the scented candles and simmer a pot of fragrant herbs and spices on the stove instead. Have company coming over? Have your simmer pot do double duty and simmer a pot of mulled apple cider before they arrive. Your home will smell delicious and your guests will have a warming treat.

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6. Grow some favorite fall edibles.
Cool-weather crops like peas, lettuce, kale, broccoli, beets, carrots, and radishes do best when seeded or planted in the fall. Here are our picks for the top five foolproof crops to grow in your garden this season.

7. Keep warm by steaming up the house with soups and stews.
'Tis the season for firing up hearty pots of soup on the stove on those chilly days. Try some of our seasonal favorites: Kabocha and Fennel Soup with Creme Fraiche, Parsnip and Fennel Soup, Wonton Soup with Mustard Greens, Bouillabaisse, and Fish Chowder.

8. Watch the leaves turn colors (yes, even in Southern California).
Who says there's no fall color in California? Apparently, people who haven't seen enough of our beautiful state. Here are the best seven spots to sight the changing of the leaves (it might even be in your own backyard).

9. Make a fire with real fire wood.
Once it gets below, you know, 60 degrees here in Southern California, cozy up next to a roaring flame and check out our guide for everything you need to know about firewood.

10. Gather with family and friends around the dinner table.
Make sure you're invited to the next party with our tips for being a great dinner guest and what you can bring your dinner hosts to thank them.

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