Trending on TikTok, Vogue, and food networks alike, seasonal eating has rightfully gained popularity in the food world and promotes a sustainable model for home-cooking and restaurant culture. Though eating seasonally has always been a part of human consumption, the resurgence of this food model grounds produce and consumers alike back to the local earth. Studies show seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only more nutritious due to their proper maturation time, but also offer a sustainable alternative to traditional groceries.
The idea behind seasonal eating is not new. Centering food around readily available produce is fundamental to cultural and regional recipes. However, with the rising environmental toll of year-round produce cycles, there’s been a resurgence of eating and cooking with local ingredients in order to minimize individual impacts on climate change. Seasonal eating promotes consuming nutrient-dense foods, as the farm-to-table model becomes a reality and optimizes the natural maturation cycle of produce while supporting local growers.
Here’s a list of seasonal items and recipe ideas you should look out for in New England this fall season:
Apples and Pears: Apples and pears are best between the months of September-October, and are great on-the-go options for snacks. Apple cider donuts, sweet-harvest salads, or a simple dessert-roast with honey and sugar set the mood for the start of fall.
Cauliflower: From a meat alternative to a vegetarian forward centerpiece, cauliflower is a sponge for flavor that can be used in almost any recipe for an added source of fiber and B-Vitamins. Try it in tacos, or substitute a normal pizza dough with a cauliflower crust for a nutrient-dense alternative.
Cranberries: A Massachusetts-grown staple, cranberries are a great source of natural antioxidants that help fight infections and promote heart health. Substitute them anywhere you’d use summer berries (like breads, pies, or drinks) for a sustainable and locally grown alternative.
Root Vegetables: Carrots, radishes, turnips, and beets provide a wide variety of options for fall eating. Packed with Vitamins A, B, C, potassium, manganese, and iron, root vegetables provide diverse options for nutrition. Simple roasts with turmeric, rosemary, or thyme elevate their naturally sweet flavors and pair well as a side dish to any meal.
Winter Squash: As some of the most versatile fall vegetables, squash are a powerhouse of nutrients full of carotenoids, natural anti-inflammatories, complex poly-saccharides, fiber, and Vitamins A, B, and C. From breads and soups to pastas and dinner centerpieces, pumpkins and winter squash are some of the most iconic and delicious autumnal produce.
Farmer’s markets in the Boston area are stocked with produce farmed locally and often present better deals than the nearest grocery store:
Haymarket runs year-round and boasts a Boston city staple for fresh produce with great deals every Friday and Saturday until 4:00 p.m.
Central Square Market offers a local option for seasonal produce on Mondays from 12pm-6pm until Nov. 21.
If you need a midweek pick-me-up, Davis Square Farmers Market runs on Wednesdays from 12pm-6pm until Nov. 23 and is a two-stop train ride away from Harvard Square.
Eating locally and seasonally is a win-win situation since consumers get the freshest produce while supporting local growers in the process.