There are more ways than one to encounter a dragon. With a low level group it's obviously not feasible to meet one in its lair and fight it. But standing on a bleak moorland, utterly exposed and vulnerable, it can be a chilling experience to see something flying far far overhead. Something that could just be an eagle, but you never know...
The PCs are setting up camp at the end of their first day of walking through the Esh-Inel Mountains, when they hear in the distance a low rumbling, like thunder. It grows progressively louder until it echoes off the mountainous bowls around them, then dies away again. At its worst the ground starts trembling. It happens every day at this time, and it is the noise of the Great Carts on the dwarfish underways returning home after a day mining, laden with many tons of ore.
There is a small and strange nature-worship cult that has dedicated itself to freeing vegetables. They appear usually in working pairs or trios, arriving to villages and towns separately and wearing the local garb. For some reason, they have taken to disguising themselves specifically as a scholar, a cooper, and a fisher. At night, they will sneak into backyards and side gardens, digging up household fruits and vegetables. They pile the pilfered plants into a cart and vanish in the night. While the townsfolk wake up to empty gardens, the cultists replant the fruits in the wild to let them be "free".