Kidney Diet Tips

Farmers Markets: A Nice Place to Visit this Fall

Fall is a great time to visit your local farmers markets. They may be located at indoor or outdoor spaces. They can occur weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. They bring together several farmers in one place.

jams-peppers-smallYou might assume you will only find vegetables and fruits at a farmers market. These days many other products are available. Items may include vegetables, fruits, herbs (fresh and dried), beef, pork, lamb, poultry, eggs and mushrooms. Some farmers markets have local independent businesses selling additional products such as breads and baked goods, prepared foods, fresh pasta, jams and more.

How can you find a farmers market near you? You can start by visiting the USDA national farmer’s market directory. You can search this site by state or zip code to find a market close by. You can also search by products available at the market. You can even search for farmers markets open in winter.

lettuce-smallWhat might you find at farmers markets in the fall? Depending on what part of the country you live there will be different choices. Cool weather crops will be abundant. Some items might be apples-with many varieties to choose from. There might be various lettuces- red leaf, oak leaf, bibb, romaine; kale- curly, Russian or dinosaur; green beans, raspberries, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, collards, onions, leeks, turnips, turnip greens, spaghetti squash, parsley, dill, oregano, thyme and sage.

radish_carrots-smallThe benefits you get from shopping locally are freshness; the vegetables you buy were picked most likely that morning to at most a few days before. You get to know your local farmer and to try varieties of vegetables that you might not see in the grocery store.  One fall morning at my local market I counted 10 varieties of apples, 6 choices of lettuces and radish varieties I saw for the first time in my life. Variety makes food interesting.

You might even be able to prepare a whole meal from items you find at the farmers market. Choices abound. Let’s say you go to your local market and you decide to buy eggs, a chicken, parsley, apples, carrots, onions and some apple cider.  You get home and think, what am I going to do with all of this? Perhaps you have hot cider and an omelet with leeks and parsley for breakfast, maybe a roasted chicken with roasted vegetables or a chicken soup as your main meal of the day. For dessert you make an apple cake or perhaps you make an apple pancake for breakfast the next morning.  If you need some ideas on what to do with all that great fall produce and products you bought at the farmers’ market, try some of these recipes from Davita.com.

Cauliflower Rice   squashspaghettiparmigiano-2103-small

Spaghetti Squash Parmigiano

Apple Cider Beef Stew

Chicken in Wine Sauce

cakeapple2169-smallCarrot and Apple Casserole

Apple Cake

Dilly Scrambled Eggs

Southern Style Collard Greens

Apples Baked in Cider

Michele Damon, RDN

Michele has been a dietitian since 2002. She enjoys vegetable gardening, cooking, trying new foods and ethnic restaurants. MIchele volunteers as a board member for her local farmers' market. She also help with cooking demos and am passionate about having people try local foods, new foods and keeping farming in her home state, New Jersey.