We recently heard someone say, "I am looking forward to fall, but am sad the farmers' market is over".
As summer winds down, you may also be thinking that farmers’ market season has come to an end, but nothing could be further than the truth!
You heard that right -- there is a wide variety of extraordinary in-season produce during this "end of summer" meets "beginning of fall” season!
And, farmers' markets will continue to thrive for several more weeks and months!
Why is it important to eat in-season?
We love strolling the market on a cool crisp fall morning, enjoying a hot cup of coffee, plus there are SO MANY benefits that make shopping the farmers' market and buying local, just harvested ingredients completely worth it:
- Take advantage of maximum flavor! (Those tomatoes, carrots and pears taste the absolute best when they are picked just days - or even hours - before you buy them!)
- Nutritional powerhouse! This is also the best way to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to produce being loaded with nutrients. It helps take care of our bodies' seasonal needs (cooling and hydrating with foods like watermelon in the summer, and then transitioning to cooler weather with foods like apples and pears), plus it gives us the optimal assortment of nutrients we need.
- Know your farmer! Shopping at the farmers' market helps you know where your food comes from, and it also helps the environment by supporting those who work hard to keep our soil and water chemical free!
- Bigger bank account! Eating in-season and local helps you save money. Whether you are buying those cool-season greens at the market, or you are buying what's on sale at the store, you can enjoy nutritious foods and save money at the same time!
- Most important...buying REAL food ingredients is the perfect inspiration to find great ideas what to do with them and cook at home! And, Eat REAL America has your back with absolutely delicious ideas!
What kind of farmers’ market produce can you expect this time of year?
As we roll into September, you will continue to see fresh tomatoes, melons, corn, peppers, sweet potatoes, okra, eggplant, carrots, garlic, green beans and more. Plus, you will find leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and a wide variety of winter squash (such as butternut, acorn, spaghetti and kabocha).
Beets, turnips and fennel will be going strong, as well as autumn fruits like apples and pears. And, as an added bonus, super-delicious and healthy greens like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and arugula are coming back with the cooler temperatures!
The REAL question...what can you do with all these great ingredients?
Eggplant - we are frequently asked...what can you do with eggplant besides the classic eggplant parmesan? We have been told by a 14 year old that the Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Pasta is her favorite recipe -- it really is fantastic, you've gotta try it soon! We also highly recommend the Autumn Pizza!
Green Beans - we really love roasting green beans, and it is the seasoning combo that makes them addictive and disappear quick, such as the Simple Roasted Carrots and Green Beans and Honey Mustard Roasted Green Beans.
Acorn Squash - not sure what to do with acorn squash? Our Roasted Acorn Squash with Pine Nuts will blow your mind and make you a believer -- it gets rave reviews!
Spaghetti Squash - it's an ideal change-of-pace from pasta, and a few flavor-loaded ideas are the Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl (we've been told this is restaurant quality!), Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (will take care of that Thai craving!), and the Spaghetti Squash Pancakes will shock and amaze you!
Sweet Potatoes - if you or someone you know don't think they like sweet potatoes, the Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato needs to be on your "make very soon" list! It is also a great time to enjoy the Oktoberfest Inspired Potato Skins. Or, if nothing else, try roasting them using our Seasoned Roasted Potatoes recipe -- this may be the game-changer idea you have been looking for!
Leeks - similar to large green onions, there are many things you can do with leeks, and a few of our favorite ideas include Grilled Zucchini, Leeks and Corn, Scallops on Creamy Leeks, and Crispy Braised Leeks - crazy good!
Broccoli and Cauliflower - get out of the rut of steaming veggies and impress your family and friends with the Buffalo Broccoli and Cauliflower Bites, Broccoli Cauliflower Salad or the Honey Lime Sriracha Cauliflower!
For MANY more ideas, check out the “In Season” section on Eat REAL America for some incredibly delicious Fall-inspired recipes!
Take advantage of shopping at your local market within the next few months, and then share what you bought and what you did with those in-season ingredients!
And, if there is something you're not sure what to do with, please let us know...
we want to help and we love a challenge!