The Dirt: What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Weekend

Even if last week’s jack-o-lanterns managed to survive Mischief Night, they’re surely moldering into themselves by now. So pitch those puppies into the compost bucket and look for some squash better suited to eating than carving–as well as some other cool weather favorites appearing as we gear up for Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to order your locally-raised bird!

Right now!

Cranberries Amidst the long-lasting sweet starchiness of roots and tubers, cranberries provide a burst of color and a welcome tartness to your autumn table. And you shouldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to pick some up. Make a quick chutney to eat with cheese, a batch of cranberry mustard for sandwiches, or a cranberry coffee cake. Look for the pale, pinkish- green white cranberries alongside the more familiar red varieties.

Long Island Cheese Pumpkins Sometimes called Cinderella pumpkins, these squat, buff squash (named because they resemble wheels of cheese) look particularly handsome in your display of decorative gourds–and they’re also especially tasty. A little paler and less sweet than your typical butternut, they’re great in any recipe where you’d typically use one.
Hakurei Turnips Though they look more like radishes than their sturdy cousins, the purple-topped turnip, this Japanese variety couldn’t be more different.They’re luminous and juicy, and they lack the spicy bite of radishes, but with enough heat to be interesting. If you find golf-ball sized ones, eat them as is, greens and all, as crunchy crudité. Slice larger ones into wedges and roast, tossed with white miso, oil and a glug of honey

Keep your eyes out for…

Lady Apples Not to be confused with crab apples, which are sour and somewhat tannic, lady apples are 1-2 inch green and red-blushed fruits with a sweet flavor. In addition to being adorable they’re an heirloom fruit with a dense flesh, and they’re great cored and roasted, alongside pork, or turned into teeny-tiny caramel apples.

Raspberries Yeah, you heard me. Some varieties of raspberries bear two crops each year–one in summer and one in fall. And since we’ve had such mild fall weather, so far they’re hanging on. Don’t expect a table full of them at your market or farmstand, but you might see a few half-pints around. If you’re feeling enterprising you could make up a batch of raspberry applesauce. Or you could just eat them.