Though summer farmers markets are closing for the season, fall produce is bountiful, with colorful crops representing a variety of fresh choices from greens to squash.
Produce that becomes available in autumn includes rutabagas, kale, potatoes, cauliflower and squash varieties like acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha and spaghetti.
At Lull Farm in Hollis, farmstand manager Kristen Bennett said that because of the late start this summer and the mild weather throughout September still have green beans, heirloom tomatoes and even zucchini and summer squash available. Cold season greens, like collards, chard and cabbage, are available, and soon Brussels sprouts will be in season. Sugar pumpkins for baking are ready too, and different apple varieties are still ripening as the season continues.
Bennett said that this year was a good year, especially since there hasn’t been a frost yet, but each year is different.
“I find the last few weeks the variety has been awesome,” Local Harvest CSA Director Jody LaRiviere said. “Because we can’t predict exactly ahead of time, people are surprised. ... Our hands are tied with the weather, as it’s hard to be exact with what [shareholders] can expect.”
Local Harvest CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, provides weekly food subscriptions to shareholders with fresh produce from seven local farms. The summer share began in June and lasts through October. Starting next Wednesday, Oct. 23, the fall share begins and lasts for five weeks.
CSA farmers are anticipating a large list of vegetables like leeks, shallots, carrots, more greens, cabbage, turnips, herbs and storage crops, like winter squash, beets, parsnips, radish and onions.
“People really like so far seeing the squash, because we have so many different varieties,” LaRiviere said. “We’re discussing different ways people are going to cook them, and what they’re going to do with them depending on what kind of squash. … What’s been fun is a lot of our members have been sending recipes they love.”
With seven farms, LaRiviere said the weekly shares are always diverse. Shareholders come to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Concord once a week to select crops from the buffet aisle, with options to select an eggplant or beets and pick a bag of tomatoes, just like in the grocery store.
At the end of the aisle, shareholders can switch out what they don’t want at the Swap Table.
Each week, LaRiviere sends out a newsletter to shareholders listing what crops to expect, articles and a Farmers Corner, which spotlights a different farmer.
For shareholders looking to take advantage of their fall shares for the winter months, LaRiviere said she will include tips to preserve the harvest.
“Their first newsletter going into the fall will have a bunch of articles about canning and preserving to get people started,” she said.