Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall at the Farmers Market!


The enthusiasm for local farmers markets is at an all-time high and as we all try to get closer to our food, but it's not always easy to break out of the norms caused by year-round availability of summer produce shipped from thousands of miles away to your local grocery store.

Here are some tips for making the most of your farmers market until the end of the season:  


Know what to expect! Check out the product lists, which many farmers markets share ahead of time on their websites, Facebook pages, twitter feeds, and/or via weekly emails. This time of year, you can expect to find great root veggies, like carrots, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and celery root. Farms are also producing lots of dark leafy greens like collards and kale, which tend to taste even better after light frosts. They’re full of great nutrients to prepare your immune system for winter! And of course, fall wouldn’t be fall without lots of squash, cabbage, and brussels sprouts!




Try something new! See a squash you’ve never cooked? Ask the farmer about their favorite ways to prepare and eat it, take it home, and look up some recipes online or in your favorite cookbook and try a recipe you would have never tried otherwise!
Bundle up! Don’t let the cold weather stop you from coming to the market. Just put on some extra layers and a pair of those cool fingerless gloves.
Track down the farmers! Not all of the vendors will be at the market through the end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find them. Talk to the vendors about where you can find them once the market ends. You can check their websites for more information, which many markets link to on their websites.
Stock your pantry! A well stocked pantry of beans and grains will help you turn all that fall and winter produce into delicious and nutritious meals!
Freeze! Snatch up the last of your favorite crops before they're gone. Freeze whole bunches of herbs like parsley and cilantro. Steam or blanch veggies and freeze them, too. You can even freeze tomatoes whole for sauces and stews later.

Read your favorite seasonal eating blogs for recipes! Here are a few of my recipes from last fall/winter:

And lastly, read! There are so many great books on seasonal cooking out now. Here are a few of my favorites:



Full disclosure: A version of this post will appear on http://unionsquaremain.org/food/farmers-market/ 


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