Fall at the Farmers' Market
Why should you make the weekly trek to your local farmers' market instead of to the nearest mega-grocer? It all starts with quality. The ingredients from your farmers' market will always be in season, meaning they were grown and harvested during peak conditions. The farmers' market also brings you food from right outside your front door. The fresher your food, the longer it will last and the better it will taste.
Here's a seasonal guide to what you can find in most greenmarkets across the country this fall. Check back regularly with The Daily Green to stay updated on what to look for as seasons change. Already a fan of greenmarket shopping? Send us your photos and tell us what's big at your greenmarket stall this autumn.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rutabaga and Pecans
Baked Acorn Squash with Red Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing
Simple Roasted Acorn Squash
Cranberry Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel
Apple Cranberry Sauce
Warm Chicken and Apple Salad
Winter Squash Casserole
Butternut Squash Soup
Silence your inner child with these delicious, diminutive members of the cabbage family. Available and at their peak from late September through mid-February, Brussels sprouts hold up to almost any preparation, from oven roasting to braising and blanching. Go savory with thick-cut bacon or toss them with reduced balsamic vinegar and pecans for a sweet fall side dish I love Brussels Sprouts with Cannellini Beans and Chorizo.
Eggplant is a transitional berry (that's right it's not actually a vegetable or even a fruit), and like most berries, peaks toward the end of summer and begins to decline in the fall. But this year, thanks to the unusually warm fall weather, eggplant is still widely available in most markets and continues to be picked while in peak condition. A favorite recipe of mine is Japanese Eggplant with Garlic, Olive Oil and Tomatoes.
Despite being available year-round, carrots have long been considered a "cool weather" vegetable, and are generally best in the late fall and early spring. Once thought of as a humble buttered side dish, carrots have come into their own in recent years and are now widely available in their various natural hues, including red, purple, yellow and white. Pan roast them whole with fresh thyme or go sweet by baking them into carrot cupcakes. Carrots are a superfood, packed with Vitamin A and Beta Carotene and Lycopene.
Traditionally thought of as a Thanksgiving staple, the sweet potato is actually available year round, but is always best in November and December. Sweet potatoes work well in both sweet and savory preparations, from sweet potato mash to sweet potato pie. Not to be confused with yams, most sweet potatoes in the United States are characteristically orange, but can still be found in white and yellow varieties throughout the deep South, where they first became dietary staples. Even better: Sweet potatoes are a superfood, packed with Vitamin A and Beta Carotene.
Although some varieties, like Bartlett, start creeping into markets by the end of summer, pears don't truly hit their peak until late fall and winter. Don't stop at just peeling and eating them raw pears are perfect for poaching in spiced wine or stirring into risotto and topping with cheese. For a meatier alternative, kick applesauce to the curb and serve sugar-syrup poached pears with pork chops instead.