You might think that the end of summer spells the close of your local farmer's market. In fact, fall is the most plentiful season of the year for farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. Autumn's bounty of greens, pears and apples crosses over in the marketplace with summer delights like tomatoes, eggplants and the second harvest of raspberries.
"It's the best time of year at the farmer's market," says FoodFit Executive Chef Bonnie Moore. "You have the highlights from summer overlapping with fall fruits and veggies."
Raspberries, tomatoes, corn, summer squash, eggplant, peppers, greens, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, apples, pears, Brussels sprouts, hard squash, fennel, leeks and sweet potatoes are some of the just-picked fruits and vegetables you may find in your local market now or in the weeks ahead.
"The best carrots of the year are coming up because they get sweeter as it gets colder," says Ann Yonkers, market manager of the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market in Washington, D.C., which was recently named one of the top farmer's markets in the country. "This is a much better time for leafy greens and lettuces because when the weather starts to cool off, it's easier for them to grow."
Many farmer's markets are open year round, Yonkers emphasizes, and there is always something fresh and marvelous available. Along with fruits and vegetables, many markets offer cheese, meat, eggs and milk.
Chilly autumn weather also makes cooking more appealing. "In fall, you get reacquainted with your kitchen after a summer of grilling on the back patio," says Moore. "It's a great season for cooking."
Soups, stews, roasts, braises and sautÚs are all back on the menu. Try this selection of different and delicious recipes that feature fall's cornucopia of fruits and vegetables.
Fall Salad with Asian Pears, Walnuts and Sherry Vinaigrette
Tomato and Bread Soup
Acorn Squash and Apple Soup
Salmon with Braised Fennel and Chive Mustard Sauce
Risotto with Fresh Kale
Cauliflower SautÚ with Red Pepper and Walnuts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts