Fall Harvest: Shopping and Eating In-Season

The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and the grocery store shelves are full of Holiday candy. This means the fall harvest is in full swing. Virginia has much to offer for the fall produce season. Besides the classic pumpkin, you can find fresh broccoli, pears, beets, kale, spinach, peppers, sweet potatoes, and much more. In this blog post, we will look at what to do with some of this in-season produce, how to make the most of the farmers market, and some fun family activities you can try this fall season.

What is In-Season?

In-season eating is choosing fruits and vegetables that have been grown and harvested in their ideal season. Shopping locally means that this in-season produce won’t have to travel very far to reach your table and it can be harvested at peak ripeness. A resource that you can reference to know what is in-season in Virginia is the Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Availability Calendar. Next time you buy produce, try grabbing some items that are in season. Here are some recipes to try:

-Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes
-Cheesy Kale Rice
-Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
-Collard Greens and Cabbage

Farmers Market

Did you know that SNAP participants get added benefits for fresh fruits and vegetables? Virginia Fresh Match allows SNAP participants to double their dollars or receive discounts on fresh produce. This is perfect for those looking to shop in-season and support our local farmers at the same time. Make sure to check if your local market participates in VA Fresh Match here. After confirming the participation of your market, go and pick out your produce, then use your EBT card to double the amount of produce you can take home!

Family Activities

Looking for something fun to do with the family? The fall is a great time to explore outside with the beautiful leaves and pleasant temperatures. There are lots of hands-on activities that you can do with your family that explore fall foods.

Apple Picking: Make a trip to your local apple orchard and pick your own apples! This is a great way to teach children where food comes from and how it ends up on your table. One of the added bonuses is you can try new varieties that a conventional grocery store might not carry.

Pumpkin Patch: If you plan to carve pumpkins this October, find a local pumpkin patch to visit! These locations usually have some added fun in the form of hayrides or corn mazes.

Farmers Market: A farmers market is one of the easiest places to get in-season produce. It is also a convenient place to expose little ones to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Enjoy the live music, pretty flowers, and other activities that your local market may offer!

In-season eating doesn’t have to be difficult. By learning a little about what’s in season, you can add some fresh fruits and veggies to your table this fall. It can be fun too! Apple picking, pumpkin patches, and farmers markets are great places to explore new fruits and veggies while supporting local farmers in the process. Happy harvest and have a great fall season!

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