As much as I love summer, and as sad as I am to see it end, I can’t deny that I love all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available come August. It just seems to bring out the inner-gardener in all of us, or at the very least the inner garden lover.
If you’re lucky enough to live close to a farmers market, you don’t have to plant your own garden to enjoy the bounty of the land. Let’s take a look at what foods are in season in different parts of the United States during the August and beyond.
When you think of wide-open spaces, rolling hills, fall colors, woods, rivers, lakes, and streams, you are probably thinking of the Midwest. My oldest granddaughter and daughter-in-law live in this region and it’s perfect for the fall produce that you see most often featured in pictures depicting a bountiful Autumn. During the fall season in the Midwest, depending on which area you find yourself in, you can buy fruits and veggies like apples, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, pumpkins, beets, and turnips at the local markets. My daughter-in-law, always has a beautiful garden of tomatoes, zucchinis, and other squash varieties, along with okra this year.
Some of the other lesser known produce harvested during the cool fall season, are parsnips, kale, rutabaga, and eggplant. Some of your favorite hearty staples are also found in the Midwest regions during the fall; bountiful crops such as potatoes, squash, onions, and carrots. Probably the oddest piece of produce that you will see come out of the Midwest during the fall months is the persimmon, which is a tart little bite that will have you craving more. And don’t forget the cranberry. Where would we be without our cranberry on the Autumn table! Look for all of these fall favorites anytime before the first hard frost in the coldest regions of the Midwest.
The Northeast areas are generally surrounded by masses of water so they are typically known for their seafood and other types of game. However, this region also has farms that are busy producing some of the best produce to ever hit your table. These regions give us beets, Brussle’s sprouts, cranberries, grapes, onions, nectarines, and even rutabaga.
Willing to try something different, but still fresh in the Northeast region? Perhaps you can give chicory, escarole, pluots or some radicchio a try this fall. Pluots are amazing hybrids between a plum and an apricot, and they should definitely be on your list of foods to try this year. So, when you think of the northeast, don’t just think about lobster; think about all the wonderful produce that region has to offer, as well.
Known for its ‘down home’ style of cooking, many of the ingredients you find in the recipes have their roots right in the area. For instance, during the cooler months, you can find sweet potatoes, tomatillos, collard greens, figs, okra, pecans, mustard greens, kale greens, and green beans. And we mustn’t forget the fruit. Citrus is a welcome addition to any table as the fall months move into winter.
The crops in the South during the fall often dictate the menu for many a meal during holidays and family get-togethers. Pecan pie just screams Southern comfort food. Sweet potato casserole and a pot of collard greens is on every southern table during the fall season. Fall may come a little later in this region, but the produce is perfectly timed to make Southerners giddy over big piles of greens and baskets of brightly colored sweet citrus at their local farmers markets.
The Northwest region of the United States tends to have a more consistent climate throughout the year which makes it a prime growing region for some of the more delicate fruits and veggies. With a temperate climate that has a considerable amount of rainfall, you can expect produce that likes to stay cool and shaded to grow in this region. Not much sun loving produce here.
During the fall months you will find boysenberries, huckleberries, artichokes, kiwi, mint, sage, basil, watercress, and rosemary in fresh abundance. Other produce you will find in this region includes chard, beets, Brussel’s sprouts, celery, and arugula. If it doesn’t like direct sun, and loves lots of moisture, you’ll find it in the Northwest. But, wait. I almost forgot one of the biggest crops you’ll find in the northwest; apples. Along with pears, apples are a very abundant crop in the northwest. If you want to buy a variety of apples and learn a million ways to eat them, go to a farmers market in the northwest. You will not be disappointed.
I live in Pennsylvania, considered one of the Mid-Atlantic states. Fresh produce in our region consists of, potatoes, onions, apples, kale, beets, pumpkins, zucchini, different squash varieties, cucumbers, tomatoes and one of my particular favorites, Peaches! Chambersburg Peaches to be exact. Oh my goodness! They are so sweet, juicy and delicious.
No matter what your appetite during the fall months, there is some region of the United States that is bound to have the fresh produce you are looking for. Now the trick is trying to figure out how to get there and back in time for dinner. 😉
I live in Colorado which isn’t the best state for produce. It’s such a finicky place to grow (I’m tired of failed gardens). I miss living in the east where gardening is easier. The farmers markets have good stuff but some of my faves, like strawberries, aren’t really a thing.
Awesome info…may I print it?
I live in the Midwest (Ohio proud) and LOVE farmers markets. I am super sad to see summer go- it seems the older my kids get, the sadder I get at the end of each summer. But, fall is my most favorite season. We have a tradition each fall to visit several farms in the area for apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, apple cider, corn mazes, and so much more. I’m getting excited- thank you for the reminder, Mary 🙂
Well, since my apple tree didn’t produce enough apples this year to make my apple butter, we’ll be visiting the apple orchard too.