BY BARBARA KOBSAR
ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS
When you’re at the farmers’ market, it’s all about what’s in season.
Choosing from items harvested at their peak is your sure bet
for fabulous flavor and freshness.
Summer crops linger as midsummer fog backs off and our hot and sunny season arrives. It’s harvest time for grapes, and while seedless varieties remain popular, people are rediscovering the unique pleasures of muscats, Tokays, and Concords. It’s also the best time of year for apples, which offer up the most flavor and crunch when they are just picked. Look for heirlooms like Black Twig and Mutsu. Also harvested in September: peppers, shelling beans, pomegranates.
This month is full of color and variety. Winter squash and pumpkins are picture perfect and arrive in a plethora of shapes and sizes. New-crop walnuts are ready to crack, and bags of shelled almonds make tempting snacks. Try roasting these nuts with a little olive oil and kosher salt. Also harvested in October: quince, turnips, pears.
Orange is everywhere! Watch for sweet potatoes—both moist/dark-fleshed and dry/light-fleshed varieties—coming in from the fields and local persimmon trees showing off their beautiful fruits. Like the sweet potatoes, persimmons appear in two different types: the tomato-shaped fuyus, which are crunchy and ready to eat like an apple or slice into salads; and the acorn-shaped hachiyas, which need time to become very, very soft before they are edible. Try scooping out the hachiyas’ pulp for a sweet, pudding-like treat, or use in baked goods. Also harvested in November: Brussels sprouts, winter squash, winter greens, broccoli, cauliflower.