Farmers markets offer a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables all grown locally and by small farms, so you can feel good about making an environmentally friendly choice, supporting your local farmers any time of year, and knowing that you’re getting the freshest produce around. Summer fruits and vegetables get all the farmers market love, especially on IG. But the real stars of the show come out when the heat waves subside and cool, crisp fall mornings roll in. So say goodbye to the stone fruits, tomatoes, and corn of July and August and hello to the fresh new flavors of fall. Below are five of our favorites, delicious and packed full of nutrients to inspire your fall cooking.
Though apples are available year-round in American grocery stores, the freshest apples are harvested late in the summer and throughout the fall. You can often find a wider variety of apples as well. With more than two dozen varieties grown in New York State alone, the flavor profiles run the gamut from the tartness of granny smith to the sweetness of jonagold. Regardless of the type, apples pack a nutritional punch. They are good sources of vitamin C and fiber. Pair with the nut butter of your choice for a nutritious and satisfying snack.
This underdog squash poised to emerge from its butternut cousin’s shadow. Acorn squash screams fall, with its acorn-like appearance and sweet, nutty flavor. As a starchy vegetable, acorn squash is a good source of complex carbs, fiber, and a host of micronutrients, including thiamine, folate, B6, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Try it roasted with avocado oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for a simple and delicious side dish. You’ll find these all over the farmers market this time of year!
Adored for their sweet, honey-like flavor, persimmons reach their peak harvest between September and November. Be sure to select softer fruits as firmer ones tend to be quite astringent. Persimmons are loaded with vitamins A and C and are full of antioxidants which may play a role in reducing inflammation. Persimmons can be eaten on their own or cut into slices and placed atop a salad. Their sweetness pairs nicely with salty and savory flavors of other roasted fall vegetables as well.
One of my favorite farmers market finds – beets. Beets are having their moment, and it’s well-deserved. They’ve been a staple at my Thanksgiving table the past several years. With their unique combination of sweetness and earthiness, you can’t go wrong with golden, red, white sugar, or Chiogga beets. Beets are a good source of folate and manganese. They also may help keep blood pressure in check. Enjoy them raw or, even tastier, roasted as a simple side dish. Bonus tip – buy beets with the greens and set the greens aside to saute with garlic for a quick side dish and reduce your food waste.
Check out this post for a delicious pistachio and beet salad recipe!
Toward the end of fall, cabbage comes into season in December. Red cabbage should be heavy for its size – a sure sign of freshness and ripeness. It is packed with nutrients and is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. Cabbage is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which both feeds your gut microbiota and promotes regular bowel movements. One of the hardiest vegetables around, cabbage provides the opportunity to still enjoy fresh, raw vegetables in the colder months. Aside from shredding it into a slaw or using it as a base for a salad, cabbage can be sauteed, grilled, or roasted into cabbage chips.
Tell us your favorite farmers market finds in the comments! And follow along on Instagram @culinahealth for more seasonal nutrition wisdom!