For many people, the mention of a farmers market brings to mind stalls packed with fresh fruits and vegetables. However, these bustling spaces offer an abundance of other regional goods. Here’s a sampling of what you might find.
Bring your backyard to life or add a pop of color to your garden with a wide selection of flowers, plants, and shrubs. Ask growers on-site about the best choices for your shaded, sunny, or damp yard.
Craft beer, wine, and spirits
Little pairs are better with a locally-sourced meal than a glass of wine, cider, or craft beer that was made just down the road. Discover the flavors of your region at the stalls of local producers. If you fancy an aperitif or digestif, sample the offerings of a nearby micro-distillery.
Farmers markets aren’t just about eating and drinking. Among the tables laden with the food you’ll find an array of unique creations. These often handcrafted products range from soaps, creams, and essential oils to candles, clothes, and linens.
For these local products and more, take a stroll through a farmers market near you.
7 ways to enjoy potatoes
Whether they’re picked up at a local farmers market or harvested from your own vegetable patch, spuds can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are seven potato dishes to try this fall, or anytime you have extra spuds on hand.
1. Creamy mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and cheese
2. Old-fashioned potato salad, ideal for a fall picnic
3. Baked or barbecued potatoes with sour cream and green onions
4. Homestyle potato chips seasoned to your liking
5. Hearty potato chowder with corn or seafood
6. Crispy fries or potato wedges with Cajun seasoning
7. Potato cake, candy, or crêpes for dessert
For even more variation in taste and texture, explore different types of potato such as Yukon gold, chieftain, and Adirondack blue. You can even experiment with sweet potatoes and yams.
Slow-cooked pork with homemade applesauce
This is a hearty meal for a brisk fall evening. Once you’ve gathered the ingredients in your slow cooker, sit back and let the mouthwatering scent of cooked apples waft through the air.
Start to finish: 8 hours and 30 minutes (30 minutes active)
· 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 1 pork shoulder, about 2 pounds
· 1 onion, minced
· 2 Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
· 1/2 cup white wine
· 1/2 cup chicken broth
· 2 tablespoons maple syrup
· 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
· 1 teaspoon dried thyme
· 1 bay leaf
· Salt and pepper, to taste
· 1/3 cup heavy cream
· 1 green onion, minced
1. In a large pan, melt the butter. Evenly coat the pork in flour and brown it in the pan on all sides.
2. Place the meat in the slow cooker and surround it with the onion and apples. Add the wine, chicken broth, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and bay leaf. Salt and pepper generously. Set the slow cooker to low heat for 8 hours.
3. Remove the pork and place it in a large bowl. Pour the remaining contents of the slow cooker into a small pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce is reduced by half.
4. Add the cream to the sauce. Use a fork or hand blender to puree the apples until the sauce has the consistency of applesauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Use two forks to shred the pork into bite-size pieces. To serve, pour the sauce over the meat and garnish with green onions.
If you’re in the mood for comfort food, this creamy combination of sliced potatoes and Gruyère cheese is the perfect side for a holiday meal or potluck among friends.
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (30 minutes active)
· 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· Salt and pepper, to taste
· 2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and evenly sliced
· 2-1/2 cups Gruyère cheese, grated
· A few sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. In a large pot, add the milk, onion, garlic, and nutmeg, and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper generously. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain a third of the milk (about 1 cup) and save it for a future recipe. Remove the pot from the heat, add 1 cup of cheese and mix well.
4. Grease a large baking dish and add the potato mixture. Make sure all the potato slices are horizontal.
5. Evenly sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top and bake for 45 minutes. To brown the cheese, finish with a few minutes on broil before removing from the oven.
6. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil.
Creamy butternut squash soup
This fall-inspired dish brings together aromatic spices and freshly harvested vegetables. Enjoy it after a stroll through the park or an afternoon raking leaves.
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
· 1 yellow onion, diced
· 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1 teaspoon curry powder
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· Salt and pepper, to taste
· 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
· 1 potato, peeled and diced
· 3 cups chicken stock
· 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
· 1 tablespoon tomato paste
· 1 tablespoon maple syrup
· Juice of 1/2 lemon
· A few sprigs of chives, chopped
1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook at medium-high heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the curry and cinnamon, and cook for an additional minute. Salt and pepper generously.
2. Add the squash and potato. Mix until the vegetables are evenly coated in the spice mixture.
3. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, tomato paste, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Use a hand blender to purée the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chives.
Make it vegan!
For a plant-based version of this soup, replace the butter with olive oil and use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
Seasonal treat takes full advantage of apple season
Apple season can vary depending upon the weather and the region of the orchard. A harsh and long winter can slow the blossoming of trees in the spring and an unexpected freeze can zap the buds and delay the growth and production.
That’s why National Apple Month begins in late September and extends through November.
Apples are grown in every state except Hawaii and Alaska and include 2,500 known varieties. Whatever region we live in, apple-picking, roadside stands, and markets featuring a dozen varieties are usually good sources because we’ve got special family recipes that taste best with apples fresh from the tree.
About 100 apple varieties are grown commercially in the United States, but 90 percent consists of the 15 most popular, including Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious. Though our recipes tend to focus on desserts or salads, here’s one that combines the savory taste of sausage with the sweet flavor of apple, perfect for any meal.
Sausage-filled baked apples
1 pound bulk pork sausage
6 large tart baking apples (Braburn, Macintosh, Honey Crisp)
1 small apple
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground
1/4 teaspoon grated
2 tablespoons light
or dark raisins
Extra brown sugar,
grated lemon rind.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Brown the sausage in a large skillet. Wash the apples; cut a slice from the tops; scoop out the cores and enough flesh to leave a 1/2 inch shell. Peel and finely dice the smallest apple.
To the sausage, add the diced apple, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon rind and mix well. Fill the apple shells with the mixture.
Sprinkle the tops with additional brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Place in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Then serve with biscuits or croissants and apple jelly.
Revitalizing green smoothie
Do you need an energy boost? This delicious and refreshing smoothie is the perfect solution.
Start to finish: 10 minutes
• 2 kiwis peeled, sliced and frozen
• 1/2 cup pineapple peeled, diced and frozen
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 2 cups vegan milk
• 1/2 cup coconut water
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
1. Use a blender to purée all the ingredients.
2. In 2 glasses, evenly pour the smoothie.
3. Garnish with berries.