One of the best parts of summer is going to the local farmers market, walking around the stalls, taking in the vibrant colors, and leaving with all your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s fun to get out in the nice weather and be around people in the community, and, when you get home, you have all the ingredients you need to make flavorful meals.
Just because the weather’s changed, though, doesn’t mean you have to stop going to the farmers market. You just have to know what to look for once the temperature drops. An added benefit: The market will probably be less crowded, so you can use your trip to take a mindful moment and enjoy some peaceful perusing.
Bundle up in your coat, grab your reusable bags, and get ready to pick out the freshest produce at the winter market. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you might have some variation with what’s available, but, in general, here’s a guide of produce to look for.
A good place to start: root vegetables. Your beets, radish, carrots, and parsnip. These are classic winter go-tos if you want to find some of the best produce in the market. They’ll add some nice texture and flavor to whatever you’re planning to make.
Winter squash are also a great way to freshen up your plate when it’s cold out. This is the perfect time of year to pick up butternut squash, several types of pumpkins, acorn squash, and, my personal favorite, spaghetti squash—a great pasta alternative.
These chilly months are also when you want to stock up on onions and potatoes. Both of these are versatile and easy to use in all kinds of meals. Onions can be cooked or eaten raw, you can add them to most recipes, and you can cook them up with some carrots and celery to create a nice mirepoix. Potatoes are simple to use and make a great side dish when baked, mashed, or sautéed.
While you’re out, pick up some leafy greens, like kale, cabbage, chard, and collards. They hold up well in colder temperatures, and they make a great addition to a lot of hearty winter dishes.
There are also some classic fruits you’ll usually find in season during the cold months. Look for pomegranates, oranges, grapefruit, apples, and pears. These are especially nice to have on hand because you don’t have to cook them, and they’re tasty all on their own. Better yet, you don’t have to worry about the disappointment of biting into out-of-season fruit.
When you’re at the farmers market, remember to check out the variety of other options there, too. There’s never a bad time to buy free-range eggs, freshly baked bread, and some locally sourced milk. You can elevate the food you keep on hand and support locals in your community.
Check out our Food Storage category to make your kitchen and pantry more sustainable.