As good Minnesotans, we plan our vacations and long weekends with the unspoken understanding that summer days are fleeting and must be enjoyed to their fullest before they have passed. If you’re like me, summer was a blur of activity, loaded with travel, friends, family and as much time outdoors as possible.
Given the casual nature of the summer season, it’s almost a relief to turn the corner into fall with its routine and structure.
Students are back in school, and a familiar cadence of school activities, sports schedules and homework takes hold. Parents and family members fall in line with accompanying chauffer and support responsibilities. Active citizens and members of community organizations large and small are back on track with a host regular meetings and events.
Fall and its cool, crisp air usher in harvest season for us all. We are lucky to have the ability to enjoy an amazing local bounty from our area farmers and growers.
A great way to take advantage of their efforts that fits easily with your busy schedule is to visit your local farmers market. Local vendors have a wealth of produce and prepared items available now through late October, and they’ll bring it right to your neighborhood.
Many late-season vegetables, such as pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash, are excellent additions to cozy comfort foods, like hearty and healthy soups. Apples are abundant and add sweetness to a school lunch or perhaps a special family recipe. Locally grown onions and garlic give big flavor to a wide variety of seasonal dishes.
It is always amazing to see the wide array of colorful produce found at the market. It’s reassuring to know that market produce is generally picked at the peak of its ripeness. It not only tastes better, it also provides the best nutritional value.
The farmers market is also a terrific way to reconnect with your community. Catch up with your neighbors who you haven’t seen in awhile and meet new ones.
When you visit the market, you may very well find that you’d like to help continue making it a successful event. There are many opportunities to participate as a volunteer as well.
If you’re an early bird, come help set up the market. Maybe you’d like to assist with veggie tastings or read a book at story time.
Looking for a more long-term commitment? Visit with our market staff about committee and board opportunities. For more information on volunteering and board membership, visit neighborhoodrootsmn.org/volunteer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As your kids get acclimated to their school schedules, the market allows for some outdoor fun and relaxation. There’s music and story time, and kids can help pick out delicious foods for the whole family to enjoy. Never underestimate the power of picking out a favorite veggie of choice to widen the menu of a young person’s approved eating options.
With so many great reasons to work the market into your new fall routine, we hope to see you there!
Apple salad with walnuts and lime
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- ½ cup walnut halves
- 2 crisp apples, thinly slices
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leave parsley leaves
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup grated provolone cheese or white cheddar
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup very coarse, fresh breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Stirring occasionally, toast until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool. Spread out walnuts on a baking sheet. Stirring occasionally, toast until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool and then coarsely chop. Toss the breadcrumbs, walnuts, apples, scallions, parsley, lime juice and red pepper flakes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese and oil and toss gently. Enjoy!
Lisa Clark has been a Fulton resident since 2013. A longtime fan of eating local, she joined the Fulton Farmers Market Operations Committee in 2015.