When the leaves turn into sprays of reds, oranges, and yellows floating in the crisp air, and pumpkins begin to appear on front stoops, it’s the sure sign that fall has arrived. It’s also the signal that the fall harvest is here in the Mid-Atlantic states.
Farmers markets in this part of the country include unique vendors not found elsewhere, like Amish farmers offering their unique cheeses, meats, and baked goods. Before the temperatures drop any further and your local markets close down for their winter hibernation, head out this weekend to pick up these favorites. Get to know the farmers and communities working to bring you the freshest fruits, meats, breads, and veggies while you’re at it!
Sure, you can buy an apple all year long, but during the fall, you find varieties not commonly available the other nine months. We recommend looking for a Cortland, Empire, or Jersey Mac, to name a few. One of the easiest snacks to grab for on-the-go eating, the apple harvest also makes us think of an all-American homemade apple pie. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to enjoy one!
Need some ideas on how to use those apples? Stewed apples are delicious served atop a grilled pork chop, and an easy and healthy snack for you and your children is to make dehydrated apples. Here’s how:
- Slice apples ¼ inch thick. No need to core them, just pop the seeds out to keep that pretty star shape in the middle.
- Dash a bit of sugar and cinnamon on top and place into the oven at 200 °F in a single layer.
- Cook for one hour, then turn each apple over and cook for one hour longer.
Pumpkins, Gourds, and Squash
The face of fall for all good reasons, pumpkins, gourds, and squash are brought into the cities this time of year by the truck load. Ready to become your fall décor or a carved jack-o-lantern for Halloween, they’re also delicious to eat.
We want to focus on the acorn squash, a pretty squash to look at based on its freckled green and yellow appearance and a shape resembling an overgrown acorn. This is a great food to introduce to your baby if he or she is now eating solids, but it also makes a great dinner on its own roasted and stuffed with anything from quinoa to wild rice and mushrooms. Check it out:
- Slice the acorn squash in half and pull out the seeds.
- Brush the flesh side with olive oil.
- Place the squash face down onto a pan and into your oven at 400 °F to roast for 1 hour.
- Roast until squash is soft all the while maintaining its shape.
- Stuff the squash with your filling of choice and then return to cook for another 20 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley or Parmesan cheese to serve.
It’s a great source for Vitamin C too – perfect for warding off those fall colds.
Over half of the country’s mushrooms are grown in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, a small town in the southeastern part of the state known as the Mushroom Capital of the World. It’s no wonder then that mushrooms pop up at the markets in autumn, types venturing beyond the crimini and portobello varieties found year-round.
Foraging for mushrooms is a pastime for many, and some foragers even find them in New York City! But farmers too are cultivating different varieties for you fungi-loving folks. Look for Blewit, Beech, Enoki, and Oyster varieties to name a few tasty options. Need some recipe ideas?
- Treat mushrooms as you would a protein. When they’re cooked amidst too many other flavors, their unique flavor disappears.
- Simply saute in organic butter with a dash of salt and pepper for flavor.
- The stems of mushrooms also make a great base for a stock, too.
What are your favorites this time of year at your local farmers market in the Mid-Atlantic region? Share with us below!