Don’t you just love the fresh produce you can find at your local farmers market? I do. I seem to find the best looking and the best tasting fruits and veggies at mine in Downtown Arlington. I find it refreshing to know that the food I am making is made with ingredients that are locally grown and organic.
With each season comes new produce that is best grown in that time of the year. Fall brings us lovely concord grapes, okra, pears, apples and a ton of other wonderful produce.
I’m going to tell you what you need to look for when at the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market and how to choose the best seasonal produce. Plus, I’ll suggest various ways to eat those fruits and veggies.
Apples: Apples are definitely in season right now and they are everywhere. When buying apples, look for ones that are firm, have no soft spots and no bruising. Also, look for ones that are bright in color.
Some ways to incorporate apples into your diet: Raw. Slice the apple up and sprinkle cinnamon for a healthy snack. Dice the apple and toss them into a chicken salad with pecans and rosemary.
Concord grapes: These grapes are so wonderful. Not many people know that with this particular grape, you don’t have to eat the skin. Just squeeze the grape and the flesh slides right out. This is referred to as a “slip-skin.” Look for grapes that are deep in color and firm. This will ensure that the grapes will be sweet and fresh.
What to do with Concord grapes? Make jelly! This grape is known for its jelly use. Rinse them off and eat them as a snack. Roast them and make THIS
Okra: Look for smooth, brightly colored unblemished pods with slight fuzz. Okra is one of those vegetables that the bigger it gets, the worst it tastes. Longer than 4 inches will result in a tough, stringy texture.
Best use for okra: Fry it. I am from the South, and my grandma makes the most amazing fried okra. She uses cornmeal and flour, which she dredges the okra in. She practically burns it to a crispy little dream in a cast iron skillet. If you’re looking for healthier versions then I would suggest slicing it up and adding it to a gumbo or stew. You could roast them as well, with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pears: Look for ones that don’t have brown spots, no bruises and have a little give around the stem.
With pears, poaching in spiced wine is always a winner. Seriously? YES.
The Downtown Arlington Farmers Market is such a wonderful spot to help support local farmers while buying the some fresh and tasty seasonal produce. It’s located right in the middle of downtown, at 215 Front Street. The hours are Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
About the blogger: My name is Milo Gales, and I adore food. All kinds of food. You'll likely find me in the kitchen, the dinner table or the grocery store when I am not in school working on my BA in journalism. On my blog you'll find creative dishes that are fresh and delicious.