Eating seasonally is not only financially clever (things that are in season grow plentifully, so they’re cheaper at grocery stores), it’s also healthier and tastier, as fruits and veggies that are out of season are typically grown with chemicals and shipped from far away. Besides, when you buy local produce in season, you’re supporting your local farmers and sustainable farming practices.
Through fall and winter, keep an eye out for these seasonal fruits and veggies at your grocery store or market stand: apples, arugula, beans, beets, carrots, eggplant, greens (spinach, collard greens), lettuce, okra, onions, pecans, red and green chile, root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas), pumpkins and winter squash.
(Besides fruits and veggies, local products like eggs, meat, dairy and honey are always in season.)
Roasted Winter Squash with Couscous
Here’s a simple recipe that uses winter squash, which will be fresh and tasty throughout the season:
1 orange-flesh winter squash, such as butternut or delicata
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup instant couscous
1 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
black pepper, to taste
Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the winter squash and cut into small bite-size pieces. Coat the squash in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and place in roasting pan. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all sides. (Because the pieces are small, keep your eye on them so they don’t burn.)To prepare the couscous, put 1 1/4 cups broth on the stove to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the couscous, bay leaf and cinnamon. Cover and let sit for five minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork. Stir in the parsley, lemon zest and black pepper to taste. Once the squash is soft, stir into the couscous and serve.Recipe reprinted with permission from farmersmarketsnm.org.
To make sure you’re always getting the freshest, best local produce (and to save yourself a trip to the market), consider joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, which distributes a weekly box of produce to its members. Most CSAs stop distributing at about this time of year, but some (like Skarsgard Farms) operate year-round.