Looking to eat with the seasons? Here are the fall fruits and vegetables you should look for at farmers’ markets and in the produce aisles. Not only are the crops generally more affordable in season, they also taste significantly better and are more nutritious. However, the specific crops and harvest dates for autumn produce will vary based on your region’s climate.
A to C
Apples despite being available at all times, apples here in the northern hemisphere are harvested from late summer through fall. Many u-pick apple orchards open up their gates around September.
Arugula is a delightful peppery green that is grown and harvested during the cooler months here in the southeastern united states.
Broccoli while is it grown year-round, it tastes less bitter when harvested during the cooler months.
Brussels sprouts are plated in the early spring all the way to later summer and mature in the fall. Surprising to many people, brussel sprouts grow on a stalk. If you ever happen to find them still on the stalk, snap them up as they are great for grilling.
Cabbage is generally sweeter the later in the season it’s harvested.
Carrots are frequently grown year-round in many areas of the states. Some of the unusual carrot varieties such as purple carrots I have found to grow best when planted in later summer and harvested in late fall.
Cauliflower is a cold-weather crop despite being available year-round. Its also a favorite vegetable of mine for vegetarian-based dishes.
Celery is at its absolute best and most crisp in the autumn season.
Chard is another temperamental green that when it is too hot lends itself to be more bitter and tends to peak in fall.
Chiles typically are mature and have the best flavor towards late summer and into fall. This year my chiles were still producing into later November.
Cranberries are a classic crop harvested in fall, especially in the northeast. Supposedly the bright red color of flooded cranberry fields during the harvest season can be seen from space if you can believe it.
D to L
Edamame is usually found in stores fresh during the late summer and fall. They also make for a wonderful snack.
Eggplant is first available in late summer and can even be found in stores until early fall. They can make a lovely eggplant parmesan or ratatouille.
Fennel is in the carrot family. Tends to have a very mild licorice flavor but can become even sweeter when cooked with onion.
Figs have a short harvest season in fall but thankfully come around just in time to be used in numerous Thanksgiving recipes,
Garlic is yet another season I’m sure we have all long forgotten has a season. It it at its best in fall.
Grapes tend to ripen towards the end of summer and are harvested into fall. One of my favorite local wines is produced from grapes that have been allowed to stay on the vine through the first few touches of frost. In Germany, ice wine is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine.
Green beans are often their sweetest when harvested from mid-summer to fall in most regions of the states.
Green onions are seemingly grown year-round and are the perfect addition to so many cozy soups.
Herbs are often plentiful in the fall. Some of my favorites that seem to grow well into the fall in my region are basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, and parsley.
Kale is like most other leafy greens, it’s best when harvested in the fall. I’m at the risk of sounding redundant here.
Leeks make for a wonderful addition to any soup and many kinds of pasta. Be sure to avoid leeks that are super wide or leeks that have wilted tops.
Lettuce is grown in the cooler months as the warmer months lead to a more bitter taste.
M to Z
Mushrooms have a variety of growing seasons but many wild mushrooms are found during autumn and spring.
Onions tend to be harvested from late summer through fall and occasionally into early winter depending on the warmth of the climate.
Parsnips are from the same family as carrots but have a more nutty flavor to them. Skinny ones are generally better as the bigger they get, the tougher they become.
Pears can grow from mid-summer into winter with some of the autumnal varieties such as D’Anjou and Bosc.
Peppers are generally a summer and early fall crop however these past two years I have had a green bell pepper plant and a cherry pepper plant that produced well into November.
Pomegranates come into season around October and generally remain available in stores until December.
Potatoes are found year-round but are usually harvested during the fall.
Pumpkins of all varieties come into season around late September into October.
Radishes are grown many times throughout the season since they are so quick growing. Fall tends to be the end of the small radishes most of us know but is the beginning for daikons which are often used in soups.
Shallots are yet another variety of onions that are harvested throughout autumn.
Spinach is best grown in summer in fall in the cooler regions.
Sweet Potato while available year-round in stores are most often found at farmers’ markets in fall.
Turnips tend to be mildly spicy when are but often become nutty or earthy when cooked.
Winter Squash has many varieties that come into season from early fall and well into winter. Varieties include acorn, butternut, carnival, delicata, and spaghetti.
Zucchini is harvested from summer into fall for most regions.
Hopefully, this will empower you to seek out some in-season produce. AS always, I hope you have a lovely day or night where you are.
~Madison Eran ~