In Season: Local, Fall Produce

Well, it’s my favorite time of year again. The summer flew by really fast, ushering in almost all the fruit 3 weeks earlier than usual (a future trend, perhaps?). It was great to have strawberries and blueberries so early, but to keep things balanced, they left just as early too.

As far as balance, Monsanto is up to their usual tricks trying to persuade the courts (and the public opinion) on the greatness of genetically modified fruit and vegetables. 85% of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified as well as 76% of the cotton and almost 90% of the sugar (ahh yes, the mighty dollar). It just seems odd how GMO’s are banned in 14 countries and ours isn’t going in that direction. Remember to stay informed, your voice counts.

At any rate, it pays everyone to know where his or her food is grown and how it is grown. A recent study stated that organically grown produce has no significant increase in its nutritional density (vitamins and minerals) versus the conventionally grown. Maybe the report is right, but who knows who financed what study and who may have lobbied for studies that favored their industry. My opinion is this; if a plant is forced to live outside and fight off disease, predators, and weather all by itself without the use of synthetic drugs, than that plant’s going to naturally produce thicker skin, stronger vitamins, and macro/micro nutrients to help it survive. In turn, those “strengths” are passed on to us. Plants sprayed with chemicals, on the other hand, do not need to be as strong and any chemical residues are passed on to us. In my opinion, I would rather eat the stronger, more nutrient dense produce.

So to pick up where I began, there are a lot of goodies coming up this time of year. Currently, apple and pear season started
Imageso we are about 5 varieties into the teens available throughout the season. Local sweet potatoes are in, not the heirloom ones we’ll have towards Thanksgiving, but still tasty. Last but not least is my favorite category, the winter squashes. Making homemade pumpkin pie with a Blue Hubbard Squash or a Banana Squash is treating all those who devour it to an out of body experience. As it stands now, we have 6 varieties of squash in, 2 of which, the Kabocha and Red Kuri, get overlooked because of them being unfamiliar. Trust me, they are delectable, especially roasting them or whipping up soup with the Kuri.
Image

In closing, the arrival of fall is as exciting as the start of spring. A lot of the fall crops are repeats of spring like lettuce, raspberries, and broccoli to name a few. Others such as heirloom sweet potatoes, Asian pears, and winter squash arrive just in time for holiday dinners and to help keep us warm during the months to come. So remember, as you stroll down our produce aisle, variety is the spice of life… eat all the colors of the rainbow.

– Ed

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