Summer may be many people's favorite time to visit the farmers market -- the lure of a vine ripened tomato, a sun-kissed strawberry, and plump peach are just too good to turn down -- but late summer and fall brings about an entirely different realm of amazing produce that shouldn't be forgotten.
Many markets stay open through the fall and even into the winter, and some vendors are happy to continue growing into the cooler months. So which ones do we think you should watch out for? Read on to see our top 5 late summer farmers market finds.
Fennell is a wildly unique vegetable that tastes quite a bit like anise (so be sure you like that flavor before you pick any up this weekend). Fennell is special in that every portion of it is edible -- the fronds, stalk, and bulb all can be used culinarily, and all have both raw and cooked applications. Check out this recipe for Roasted Fennel with Parmesan, or this one for Warm Chickpea, Fennel & Parsley Salad.
Americans tend to only have two uses for pumpkins -- loading them into pies, and carving them into jack-o-lanterns. This is too bad, considering how nutritionally dense pumpkins are -- one cup of steamed pumpkin holds a stunning 2.7 grams of fiber, 1.4 milligrams of iron, and 564 milligrams of potassium. You want to be sure that the pumpkins you buy are for eating, and not decorating, as there are varieties that are non-edible -- just ask your market vendor or farmer; they'll be sure to tell you! Try this recipe for Maple Pumpkin Pot de Crème; it knocks the socks off of pumpkin pie any day. And for a savory treat, try this Pumpkin Cannelloni with Clams and Sage Brown-Butter Sauce!
With so many winter squashes to choose from, it's hard to pick just one! Butternut squash, however, is wonderfully versatile -- and its flavor just can't be beat. It's slightly sweet, with a wonderfully nutty aroma that pairs well with just about anything. It's robust enough to work as an entrée, but versatile enough to play the role of side dish. You just can't beat the butternut! Try this application as a main dish for Butternut Squash Stuffed with Caramelized Leeks, Sausage, and Cous Cous this week, and you won't be disappointed.
We have come to think of apples as an "always" fruit because of global agriculture, but they're truly a Fall crop. You'll find that locally grown apples taste sweeter and are crisper in the Fall than any other time of the year -- your local farmer's market will likely carry varieties you haven't heard of either, so be sure you bring your appetite! While apples are, of course, delicious raw, baking them or using them in savory recipes is traditionally a delicious part of cooking. Try them in this recipe for Sharlotka, or in a savory approach this Thanksgiving in Harvest Rice with Apples and Pecans.
There are a number of varieties of sweet potatoes, and depending on where you are in the country (especially North vs. South) you'll run into a lot of different types. The main difference between them is their flesh color; while some are a pale yellow, others have a more robust orange tone. Sweet potatoes are great in fall because they often require some kind of baking or stewing -- a perfect way to warm up the house! Try this method of cooking for some delicious Sweet Potato Soup with Miso and Ginger.
You might not see Real Purity at your local farmers market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stock up on our products for fall. Check us out anytime through Labor Day and get free shipping on your order. Just follow the instructions on our homepage and use code LABORSHIP at checkout.