Thought farmers markets were only a summer thing? Think again! For most of the U.S. the growing season lasts at least nine months of the year. And that can even be extended by the use of frame houses and other cold weather farming techniques. That means while tomatoes and corn might be over with for the year, there are plenty of fall vegetables waiting for you at your local farmers markets or participating CSA farm.
- Fall Vegetables to Fall in Love With at the Farmers Market
Fall vegetables are different from the summertime produce. While tomatoes, corn, and summer squash dominate the summer farmers market, heartier fare like winter squash, greens, and root vegetables are the mainstays of autumn produce. Check out some of our autumnal farmers market favorites:
*The wide variety of winter squashes like Delicata, Red Kuri, and Kabocha
*Red Russian kale
- Preserve the Harvest of the Farmers Market
- Freezing - Blanch and freeze food to keep you stocked with produce through the long winter.
- Canning - Canning works for foods that aren’t suitable for freezing. Turn apples into applesauce, for example, so you have local fruit all winter long. You can also can pumpkin, squash, and beans.
- Fermenting and Pickling - Fermented foods are so good for you and fermenting is a useful way to keep foods from going bad too. Make homemade cabbage sauerkraut that will change your life! Grab some beets, radishes, or carrots and pickle them to preserve them and add some vinegary flavor!
- Cold Storage - Store extra winter squashes in the basement, or other cool, dry, and dark space in your home, to keep you through the winter.
- Make Stock (or Bone Broth)
Those gorgeous carrot tops, turnip greens, and celery ends can all be turned into the loveliest homemade vegetable stock for making soups and stews this winter. Make a big pot each week to use now, or freeze for use later in the season. Once you make stock, you will never again want to use the store bought version. Mix it in with your bone broth for a nourishing winter soup base.
- Try Something New
The chances are that quite a bit of the produce choices found at your local farmers market are new to you. Many of the fall fruits and vegetables that are staples at the farmers market never make it into the grocery stores. You may not see kohlrabi, okra, Romanesco broccoli, cheese pumpkin, gooseberries, kumquats, or purple carrots at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a try!
- Try a New Technique
The bounty of autumn is the perfect time to try a new preparation or a new cooking method. Kale is so bountiful and affordable at the autumn farmers market; it’s the perfect time to attempt making roasted kale chips. Or consider making cabbage steaks from the ubiquitous cabbage found at the market. The variety that the fall harvest provides is just asking for you to get creative in the kitchen!
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Farmers market image via Shutterstock