Savor the Season: Fall

  • , by Daniel Reiss
  • 3 min reading time

Savor the Season
A Guide to Farmers Market Finds for Fall

Pumpkin on a gray backdropThe cooling weather and leaves blazing red and orange means summer is finally fading into fall in the South. What better way to celebrate the seasonal change than by taking a trip to your local farmers market to see what’s new?

  • apples being cut and cored
    Virginia boasts more than 100 commercial orchards, making it the South’s leading producer of apples. This might come as unsurprising, since apples grow best in regions (like the Shenandoah Valley near Charlottesville) with warm days, cool nights, rich soils, and steady rainfall. Although apple season begins during late summer, harvest peaks in September, October, and November. With more than 10 types of apples growing in Old Dominion, enjoying them comes in many different forms. If you’re a snacker at heart, slice and dip your sweeter apples (like Fuji and Red Delicious) into AR’s Spicy Hot Peanut Butter this fall. If you prefer tartness (such as Granny Smith), slather the slices with Catbird’s Salted Caramel Sauce for a scintillating blast of flavor.
  • sweet potatoes against a white backdrop
    Sweet potatoes thrive in the sandy-soiled plains of the Southeast Coast. In fact, over half of all sweet potatoes harvested in the U.S. come from North Carolina Contrary to their name, these healthy vegetables are low in sodium, high in fiber, and cholesterol free. When purchasing sweet potatoes at your local market (September and October are the most fruitful months), select those with firm roots and a deep orange color for the richest flavors. This versatile vegetable can be mashed, baked, fried, grilled, pureed into soups, or tossed into casseroles. (Insider tip: Gentry’s Ham Bone Seasoning’s sweet and savory blend of spices will add honey-baked flavor to any sweet potato casserole.)
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
    Swiss chard, a heat-tolerant green and a favorite among Florida farmers, has a season that begins in September and lasts through late winter. Chard offers a sturdy alternative to lettuce, spinach, and kale during the cooler months. When the first cold spell hits your area this fall, we recommend warming up with potato, andouille, and kale soup (subbing chopped chard for kale.) Seek out chard that has shiny, ribbed leaves and firm, unbruised stems for concentrated flavors and vitamins. Younger leaves are crisper and better for eating raw in salads and on sandwiches. Incorporate chard and Aussie Select’s Agave Rosemary Lamb Ham into your next club sandwich to yield a perfect, pleasant bite with tender texture.
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