Skip to main content

What’s in season at the farmers market this fall

Here's what veggies and fruits to look for at the fall farmers market

A farmers market stall selling vegetables
Shelley Pauls / Unsplash

As the weather cools down, plants grow more slowly, and harvests become smaller. If you’ve been going to your local farmers market, you might start to wonder if it’s worth continuing to go – will there even be anything available? However, while the growing season might be winding down, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of crops and delicious foods you can find at your local market.

Whether you’re looking for some crunchy vegetables, sweet fruits, or earthy mushrooms, there is something for everyone at the farmers market in the fall. We’ll discuss what’s in season, what you should look for, and what to do with these colder-weather crops.

A farmers market stall selling gourds
linsight / Pixabay

The benefits of eating seasonally

The zucchini crop at the farmers market might be thinning, but you’ll find all sorts of produce at the grocery store. So why continue to go to a farmers market when you can get tomatoes year-round? There are several reasons why eating seasonally is better for you, but one of the biggest reasons is supporting smaller and more local growers. We all know it’s best to shop local or go out of our way to help “the little guy,” which is also true when buying food for your family. So not only are you investing in the local economy, but you’re also providing a living for a family doing something that they love.

Additionally, eating food that’s locally grown is much healthier for your body. Smaller growers don’t use as many harsh chemicals on their crops. Plus, because the product doesn’t have to be picked early to survive travel, the flavors are much more enjoyable and fresh. There’s a reason professional chefs visit local markets to stock their restaurants.

Flowers and dried corn
Alisa Anton / Unsplash

What to look for at farmers markets during fall

Tomato plants might be turning purple, but some plants enjoy the cold and are only growing larger with the cooler temperatures. The best vegetables to look for are greens, mushrooms, and root veggies like beets, rutabaga, radishes, sweet potatoes, and many types of pumpkin. You might even be able to find everything you need to make an early Thanksgiving dinner!

A farmers market stall selling fruit
Shelley Pauls / Unsplash

What fruits are in season?

While there may not be as many fruits in season at the farmers market in autumn, there are still a few you can expect. Apples and pumpkins might spring to mind, but you can also find figs and persimmons. If you’re lucky enough to live near a cranberry bog, then fresh cranberries are in season during fall, even in November. The farmers market is also a great place to find homemade preserves, so be on the lookout for fresh marmalades, jams, apple butter, and even pickles made from the last of the summer harvest! Peach season may have just ended, but peach jam season is only beginning!

Freshly harvested spinach leaves in a bowl
Julia Mikhaylova / Shutterstock

What to do with greens

A fresh salad is satisfying on a hot summer day, but fall weather begs for warmer and cozier food. So how do you use up greens when all you want is a big bowl of mac and cheese? You get creative. First, cooked spinach goes with almost any pasta dish and adds a healthy amount of essential vitamins and minerals to your dinner. If that’s not your thing, you could use those greens in a wrap and serve them with a bowl of warm carrot or beet soup.

A person slicing a dark red beet on a wooden cutting board
New Africa / Shutterstock

What to do with beets

Speaking of beets, these brightly colored root vegetables don’t get the amount of love we think they deserve. They’re excellent for gut and blood health and can be made in a wide variety of ways. First, there’s beet soup, ranging from a spicy ginger soup with curry paste for depth, or traditional Russian borscht, which is delicious with a slice of sourdough bread. If you end up buying too many beets, they can be easily pickled and used on sandwiches, as a side, or on a fall-inspired salad.

A sliced sweet potato on a cutting board
StockSnap / Pixabay

What to do with sweet potatoes

Like their more white or yellow cousins, delicious sweet potatoes have a plethora of uses in the kitchen. These uses range from desserts with marshmallows to hamburger sides such as fries. You can also dice them up or roast them with olive oil and rosemary with other root veggies to make a healthy and mouthwatering side to a chuck roast. Or keep things simple by baking them, splitting them open, and enjoying them with a bit of cinnamon butter. You could even try them as a healthy breakfast alternative to toast.

A young woman holding a handful of oyster mushrooms
Alliance Images / Shutterstock

What to do with mushrooms

Mushrooms are adorable little fungi that add a deep layer of flavor and nutrients to any dish. They’re often sauteed in butter and poured over a steak, which we highly recommend, but their unique talents don’t stop there. You could try this richly flavored Hungarian-style mushroom soup or introduce mushrooms to your breakfast with this wild mushroom galette. Mushrooms are excellent companions to any Philly cheesesteak sandwich, and you might want to consider trying them stuffed as an appetizer.

Of course, there are endless ways to enjoy these fall crops, but these are some of our favorites. As you continue your weekly trek to the farmers market, maybe start bundling up as the weather gets colder. You don’t want to go home early because your hands are cold and miss out on all the delicious fall foods.

Editors' Recommendations

Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
What’s in season at the farmers market this fall
The best fruits and veggies to shop at the farmers market this fall
Farmers market

Your backyard garden isn't always able to grow everything you need to feed your family, but that doesn't mean you can't get farm-fresh foods for your table! Farmers markets are an excellent way to find fresh, locally grown food. There are several benefits to buying from sellers in your area, like stimulating the local economy, supporting smaller and local farms, accessing more fresh and healthy foods, getting to know the people who grow your food, and much more.

Some studies even show that veggies at farmers markets are more nutritious because what it takes for a local farmer to pick and sell that product is significantly less than in big grocery stores. This means the food is more fresh, which in turn means it retains more of the nutrients.

Read more
When do pears come in season? What you need to know
Here's the perfect time to pick your pear harvest
Pears on cutting board

Sweet, juicy, and crispy pears are not only versatile in recipes, but they’re also some of the easiest fruits to grow in a home garden. They resemble apples in look and taste (well, slightly), but pears tend to be much more resistant to pests and diseases. Plus, pears are full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium for added benefits to your health.

One important thing to know about pears: You shouldn't always let them ripen on the tree. So when are pears in season, and when can you pick them for cooking and eating? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about growing, harvesting, and preparing pears for delicious homegrown snacks!

Read more
Have an abundant fall apple harvest? Here’s what to do with a bunch of apples
From baking to canning, here are ideas for using your apple harvest
Apple harvest

Apples are some of the tastiest, most abundant fall harvests. If you're overwhelmed with how many bushels of apples your trees have yielded and are trying to use them up in more than just pies, look no further. Below, we've gathered several ideas to help you figure out what to do with a bunch of apples to make sure none of your fruit goes to waste.

Cook and bake your apples
So, what can you do with a bunch of apples? As your fall harvest of apples begins to pile up, you might get overwhelmed with what to do with them. Here are some new and unique ways you can prepare apples to enjoy them all through the season.
Crisps and pies
Of course, there is the classic apple pie or apple crisp. These are great ways to use up apples because they often call for six or more apples. You can bake a few pies or crisps for friends, family, or neighbors and share your harvest with those around you.
Cake and muffins
Less famous than pies but still a favorite among apple lovers, apple cakes and muffins are delicious and can also serve as a breakfast snack with your morning coffee. You can always make a big batch of apple muffins and freeze them for later.
Butter and sauce
You probably reach for a jar of apple butter at the fall hayrides every year, but you can also make this yummy topping at home. Making apple butter uses up a bunch of apples, so you can reduce your huge pile at home. In addition, you can make some homemade applesauce as well. Here is a recipe from MidwestLiving for awesome apple butter.
While the above ways to eat apples might be our favorites, they can get boring. So here we have a recipe from for fried apple rings. These rings are thin slices of apples fried in a pancake-like batter and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They're easy and will become an instant favorite. They go great with ice cream after a holiday meal or with a cup of tea or coffee before breakfast with your family.
You can toss a handful of thinly sliced apples into almost any salad, but a unique way to eat apples is in this yummy cabbage salad with apples and walnuts by Mom's Kitchen Handbook. It's colorful and offers a different way to enjoy your favorite fruit on a healthy salad.
Roasted apples are a sweet treat without all the sugar of a pie or crisp. These roasted apples by Martha Stewart only call for a small amount of sugar and cinnamon. You can add them to a bowl of vanilla ice cream or eat them on their own as a sweet and delicious snack.
Slow cooker
Similar to roasted apples, you can use a slow cooker to soften apple slices. Add some butter, cinnamon, and sugar to a bowl of sliced apples, then put them in the slow cooker for an hour or two. What you'll have is a soft, saucy, and spice-filled treat that's great on its own or on top of ice cream.
Cheese board
Charcuterie boards are a trendy way to serve guests before a big meal, and we love to add fresh fruits to ours. Apples are an excellent choice. Their crisp juices cut through the creamy cheeses and cleanse your palate. Thinly slice a mix of red and green apples for a range of sweet and sour, then add all your favorite cheeses, crackers, jams, olives, and nuts. Have some fun setting it up and watch as friends and family enjoy. Or maybe make one just for yourself!

Read more