The leaves in the valley are beginning to change, and so is the seasonality of produce available at the market. Typically when we think of autumn produce, we think of apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, and local favorites, pawpaws. Lucky for us Ohioans, there’s actually a rather large abundance of fresh, in-season produce that thrives during the fall. So what can you expect to see at the farmers’ market this fall season?
Fruits and Vegetables Available at the Farmers’ Market this Fall
As we enter our final weeks of our outdoor farmers’ market at Howe Meadow and prepare to move indoors for the winter farmers’ market at Old Trail School, there’s plenty of fresh, locally grown produce that’s currently in season. Let’s take a look.
- Brussels Sprouts
- Ginger Root
- Leafy Lettuce
- Mustard Greens
- Peppers (Bell, Hot and Sweet)
- Squash (summer & winter)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Potatoes
And don’t forget, as we get later into the year, we’ll start to see stored crops from the end of harvest season!
Why is Seasonality and Local Food Important?
The concept of eating seasonally is a historically rooted concept. In ancient India, the practice of ayurveda (an ancient alternative medicine system), had a special term for eating seasonally, called ritucharya. It consisted of a list of seasonal foods and the best time to eat them, used in order to prevent disease and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Until recently, when the global food system made all types of foods of varying quality available at our finger tips, most people ate seasonally because there was no other way. Fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles, ripen during certain seasons, and die back or go dormant during the remainder of the cycle.
Although we are technically able to eat certain fruits and vegetables out of season, those that are in-season are considered to be fresher and more delicious, not to mention nutritionally superior. Studies show that fruits and vegetables that are allowed to ripen naturally contain more nutrients than those that are consumed out of season. Similarly, foods that are shipped from out of the region (outside our local food system) have fewer nutrients too. This is due to when they’re harvested (before the produce was ripe and full of all its potential nutrients) and how long the transportation process takes before produce gets to the grocery store (nutrients breakdown as soon as the produce is picked).
Not only is eating with the seasons good for your own health, but it’s considered to be healthy for the environment as well. It allows fruits and vegetables to return to their natural cycles allowing soils to replenish and ecosystems to work naturally in tandem.
A Farmers’ Market Guide to Eating Seasonally this Summer
If you find it hard to remember what’s in season or you’re new to eating seasonally, don’t worry, we have a cheat sheet for you! Download the eating seasonally chart. We recommend hanging it on your fridge or in your pantry to quickly see which fruits and vegetables are in season by month to help inspire your meal planning and farmers’ market shopping.
*Note: The Eating Seasonally Chart may become inaccurate for some crops depending on the season’s weather conditions. Produce availability is dependent upon many factors. In extreme cases, it may cause a given crop to be unavailable all season. In minor cases, it may cause a crop to have a shorter season than normal.