Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables is beneficial for many reasons. You cut down on the fuel costs needed to transport the food, give back to your community and support small businesses and independent farmers. Are you ready to buy some fresh ingredients? Here’s what farmers market produce is in season this fall, which might vary slightly depending on where you live.
Roasted, pickled or fried, this bright green vegetable is beloved in the south. Farmers usually start harvesting it in June or July, but its season extends into early fall, so you might be able to find some at the farmers market if you’re lucky. It’s a good source of fiber, antioxidants and folate — an exceptionally healthy vitamin for pregnant women.
This mild-tasting vegetable makes a delicious side. You can steam it and leave it intact or mash it like potatoes and serve it as a creamy whipped dish. Some people even make it into pizza crust or batter to bread gluten-free foods.
Bright and tangy, these red berries are packed with vitamins. Most people include them in recipes like jelly, smoothies or juice, as they’re pretty tart on their own. Still, if you want to eat them raw, it’s no worse for you than biting into a lemon — sour, but still healthy. They lend a delicious spark of flavor to Thanksgiving dinner.
Speaking of vitamins, kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a dark, leafy green with a tough texture and a strong, earthy taste that pairs well with meat and potatoes or as part of a salad mix. It’s become pretty popular in recent years. Use it as a soup ingredient, eat it raw or stir fry it with bacon for a hearty meal.
5. Sweet Potatoes
This is one versatile vegetable. You can serve a sweet potato whole or mash it. Add salt and spices for a savory dish or mix it with sugar and turn it into a pie almost indistinguishable from pumpkin. Its soft, buttery mouthfeel and mildly sweet flavor make it a fall favorite.
Pumpkins are almost synonymous with fall as both a decoration and an ingredient. There’s quite a variety in how they taste — the big ones people usually use to make jack-o’-lanterns are tough, stringy and not very good for baking. But, you can use the insides to make roasted seeds or a puree.
At the farmers market, see if you can also buy some locally grown pumpkins bred specifically for baking so you can make your own pie.
7. Green Beans
Fresh green beans taste so different from their canned counterpart that they might as well be another vegetable. Technically classified as legumes, green beans are filled with a healthy dose of vitamin C and K. Sauté them with sliced almonds or add them to salads for a crunchy twist.
This is a rare case of seeds tasting better than the fruit surrounding them. Pomegranate trees flower in the fall, so if you visit your farmers market late in the year, you might score some of these tasty, nutritious fruits. Eat the seeds raw, mix them into baked goods or use them as a salad topper for a burst of flavor.
Although technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often used like a fruit, finding its way into pies, cakes, cobblers and bread. Stew the stalks with sugar to soften them up, then use them in any number of recipes. If you’re really creative in the kitchen, you can also use rhubarb to make wine or mead.
Potatoes have a place in almost every cookbook for a reason. They’re perfect on chilly autumn nights, slow-roasted with rosemary, olive oil and salt or baked into french fries. And what Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without mashed potatoes? See how many color and flavor varieties you can find at the farmers market.
Why It’s Better To Buy Local
Now that you know what farmers market produce is in season this fall, you’re ready to pay a visit to your local food vendors. Plus, it’s more than just a fun autumn activity.
By buying from local farmers, you show appreciation for fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables produced as a labor of love. Your purchase is like a vote supporting small business owners and families. And — of course — you’re sure to go home with a bag full of delicious food.