Autumn is well known as a time of harvest; a time of year when farmers and gardeners in this hemisphere know to go gather up the bounty from everything they planted in the summer, and much of it ends up delivered to your local grocery stores, or even better, farmers’ markets. One of the best parts about the harvest season is getting your hands on fresh, seasonal produce that you either only see this time of year, or only see the best, ripest specimens of this time of year; since out of season produce has to be shipped in from where it’s in season, it can mean hours on a truck, harvested unripe to ripen in transit, ultimately resulting in produce that’s not nearly as tasty, fresh, or crisp when it gets to you.

Today, Vine Vera is going to honor the spirit of the harvest season by telling you how you can have fun with seasonal produce and enjoy the bounty of the land with meals made from seasonal ingredients that are as healthy as they are delicious.

Where to Find Them
Of course, before we can start going off about what fall produce is the best, it would help if you had a destination in mind to go look for it. Often, local grocery stores will get shipments from, if not local farms, near enough establishments that the produce will still be quite fresh. That said, the best option when it comes to fresh produce is a farmers’ market, where you can not only pick up tasty, locally grown fruits, veggies, and herbs that are just about the freshest, most crisp you can get, but you’ll also be supporting local growers; a more sustainable alternative to the standard grocery store chains.

Apples

Apples
Quite possibly one of the most iconic, recognizable fall-harvest fruits is the apple. They come in enough varieties that everyone is likely to find a favorite among the many options, and they make a great anytime snack (and did we mention they help supply the ingredients for collagen more than any other fruit?). Not only that, but diced apples go quite well in morning oatmeal or on salads.

Cranberries

Cranberries
If you thought these tart, bitter little fall gems were only good for making cranberry sauce for the thanksgiving turkey, think again. They’re full of vitamins, and go well in pancakes, deserts, and in grain-based dishes like quinoa salads.

Squash

Squash
Butternut and acorn squash are both tasty fall gourds you can use in ways you wouldn’t expect. You can simply chop then into chunks and roast or fry them for a uniquely tasty side dish, or mash them like potatoes; they end up with the same consistency, but are a fun, healthier alternative to mashed taters.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin
And on the subject of iconic fall squash, pumpkin is good for more than just pie! Grab small pumpkins for the flavor, and like other squash, you can chop up the “meat” and roast it in the oven with some spice. The seeds can of course be washed and toasted for a delightful snack, and the “guts” in the pumpkin can be pureed and used to make vegetarian pumpkin-burger patties (surprisingly tasty), pancakes, bread, and more!