Eat Fresh – What’s in Season NOW! September

Here is a quick run down on Eating Fresh – What’s in season now, September 2014.

Every where you look, people are trying to eat better.

To be an educated eater, you need to be aware or what fresh #fruitsandvegetables are available according to season.
Simply going to the grocery store or that busy farmers market on the corner isn’t a good way to determine what is in season. Food gets shipped in from all over the world so the availability seems season-less.

Eggplant and Okra

Eggplant and Okra

Knowing what is in season and that winter would be the “bleakest” food season; you can prepare and plan to have a pantry full of amazing things. But that’s another discussion.

Summer is winding down, days are getting shorter. Tomatoes are in full swing, melons are ripening on the vines.
Okra is growing over your head the plants have become so tall!

Here's what you can buy fresh from the garden in September:

Click on the hyperlinks to get fun, interesting ideas and recipes.

  • Apples- are coming in, crisp and fresh! Look for more varieties in the market as fall progresses.

    Apples on display

    Apples on display

  • Blackberries- soon to be gone! Make some Blackberry Sage Jam for a cold winter morning.
  • Cabbage – a good winter staple
  • Cherry Tomatoes – great for salads, snacking, roasting or sauté – abundant now through first frost
  • Collards – Simply an amazing green to simmer and eat with beans and cornbread, ’nuff said! Don’t forget the hot pepper vinegar!
  • Cucumbers- until first frost, time to make some pickles. Here’s a primer to get you going.
  • Figs-  get them quick! They are almost gone. Fig and lemon jam will capture their essence, or simply do whole figs in syrup. Wrap them in prosciutto. . .
  • Green Onions I find they winter ok if you grow them yourself. For fun, try sprouting the root end again by putting it is a small glass of water, it grows!
  • Greens- Easily available, get baby varieties to eat raw
  • Herbs- easily available in most varieties. Mint may be dying back, Basil is trying to seed. Freeze fresh herbs in ice-cube trays for winter use.
  • Indian Corn- begins to hit the market through October
  • Muscadine Grapes- Short season, all-time favorite regional treat. Freeze some for Halloween, use them as ‘eyeballs’ in the punchbowl or drinks.
  • Mushrooms- Late summer varieties rich flavors!
  • Mustard Greens- start coming in mid-September. Try some for a spicy different taste.
  • Peaches- leaving the market soon. Get your fill now! Make some fresh peach ice cream this weekend and serve it over warm peach cobbler or pie.
  • Peanuts- a year round favorite, raw, roasted or boiled.
  • Pears- the best pears are just starting to show up. Pears will only be here a short while, through October.
  • Persimmons- tricky to get just right, those who do love them!
  • Pumpkins- YAY! I adore pumpkins, eating and decorating and carving, flesh seeds and all! (Check out the links! You’ll have fun, promise!)
  • Raspberries- Almost gone until next year. Freeze some.
  • Snap Beans- Coming to an end of the season. I adore green beans and freeze some for winter. I think canning them makes them to soggy.
  • Yellow Squash- I know some aren’t sorry to see these go. Still available through mid October.
  • Sweet Corn- the symbol of summer, gone by the middle of the month. If you haven’t yet, grill you some corn on the cob for dinner.
  • Sweet Potatoes- Available year round although some specialty varieties come and go. I adore the garnet type from mid summer.
  • Tomatoes and Tomatillos- Through first frost. Be sure to get the green ones at the end of season to make chow-chow!
  • Watermelon- Another summer classic about to depart as fall descends.
  • Zucchini- only through the end of September. Shred some and make some Brownies!

I hope this helps. If you’re at the market and see things that really don’t seem right, like strawberries in September, ask where they came from and how they were grown. Leave them behind if you don’t like the answer.

Use your dollar to vote for better food and health with every purchase you make.

How do you eat, do you follow seasons? Buy Local? Please comment below and tell us how you plan your meals.

The What to Eat Now – October will be out soon. Subscribe to Spoon Feast so you are sure to get it! Use the subscription button on the right.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

#eatfresh #seasonaleating #localfood #fruitsandvegetables #foodinseason #supportfarmers #eatlocal #seasonalfood

 

Farmers Market

Local, sustainable, organic, the buzz words of foodies everywhere. Do we really know where our food comes from? How does it end up on our plates? Who are the people that actually grow our food?

I decided to do to the big farmer’s market here in Charlotte to find out. Charlotte has many small markets that pop up all over town on different days of the week.

There is a popular one just a few blocks down the street from the house and then there is another HUGE one out by the airport. That’s where I went; The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Yorkmont Road.

The market opens at dawn on Saturdays. Every time I was there before, there were always treasures. Today was no different.

I bought a bounty of goodies. French red sparkler radishes, aromatic peaches, crisp rainbow Swiss chard, pink lady apples, yummy corn relish and more.

Scuppernong Grapes

The air was filled with the heady scent of scuppernong and muscadine grapes. I think they are like eating eyeballs, but of course much more flavorful. You bite the skin open and squeeze the grape’s insides into your mouth then discard the skin and the single seed inside. The flavor is sweet, rich, full and totally unique to these grapes. Everyone should try them sometime.

I met a delightful, energetic lady who keeps herself quite busy with all the tempting relishes, pickles and treats she makes and sells at the market. Miss Virginia has been selling her wares at this market for over 8 years. I will have to visit Virginia again for another of her creations as well as to get her information. Be sure to buy yourself something when you visit Virginia at the market.

Her corn relish was great with the grilled chicken we had for dinner. . .  wait until you hear about our dinner!

She told me about her grape leaf dill pickles, which she claims is her best seller. I asked about the grape leaf and Virginia says it makes the pickles really crispy. Virginia has written her most popular and favorite recipes in a cookbook which she sells at her booth in the market. I enjoyed talking to someone who obviously enjoys the condiment world as much as I do. In fact she inspired me to buy some pickling cucumbers to put up some more before the season is gone. I’ll be making the half sour pickles.

Virginia and Grape Leaf Dill Pickles

I talked to a gentleman who grew the most beautiful radishes. We spoke about the many ways to cook them and agreed the best was was to simply dip them salt and scarf them raw. His display reminded me of the markets in France in that he used these small chalk boards to write his items and prices and laid the boards amongst the leaves.

I bought these radishes, YUM!

There was one farmer who had a very nice hand made book he was collecting e mail addresses in. It was made from leaves and found objects and fabulous hand made paper and a small bit from a palm tree decorating the spine.

The farmers were excited about the fall growing season. After a hot summer, they are glad for more hospitable growing conditions. Hopefully, as long as the frosts don’t come, there will be lots of bounty to come.

There were organic chickens, eggs, beef, lamb, pork, goat (sold out), quail, Cornish hens, bacon, country hams, sausages and more. I looked for Arcana chicken eggs but didn’t see any. These eggs are naturally laid colors: pink, green, blue, yellow with bright orange yolks. Either the hens aren’t laying or they sold out early.

I brought home an arm load of goodies. We had to cook the chard because it was too big to fit into the refrigerator. For dinner we grilled an organic chicken, sweet onions, peaches with thyme and honey, sauteed Swiss rainbow chard, Virginia’s corn relish (so good!), Lundberg Farms Brown Rice Medley, grilled French bread with olive oil and rosemary.

I think I need to stretch my belly. Here are some pictures I took today.

Apples on display

Eggplant varieties

Multi colored Carrots (I bought these!)

I bought this rainbow chard too

Well stocked

I bought all this and more

If you haven’t been to a farmers market lately, go. These people are the heart of our country, they grow YOUR food!

Go meet them, talk to them, learn what is in season, ask how they cook it if you don’t know how.

Get on their e mail lists and they will tell you what they have an how much. Reserve what you want before it gets sold out. I do this with Cornish hens. Your food comes from somewhere other than the grocery store. Go discover where your food is grown, meet the farmers and feel good about using local and sustainable resources. Supporting local will improve local economies, but that is another post.

Let me know what you find at your farmer’s market! Click Farmers Market here for a listing of markets in the Charlotte area.