Fresh Fall Flavors: A Quick Guide to Fall Produce
It’s finally smelling, looking and feeling like fall in Vermont, and here at the coop we could not be more excited to see the continuous abundance of local produce filling our shelves and baskets every day. Whether you are looking for guidance on the type of squash you should roast for a casual Wednesday night dinner or starting to brainstorm recipes for the big Thanksgiving meal, below are tips for cooking and baking with a few fall staples that will enhance your autumn cooking.
These tips come from our Thanksgiving Produce Guide. Below are a few examples of what you can find in the guide, but click here to find more information on cranberries, mushrooms, citrus and more!
These sweet treats are said to be the icon of fall produce in Vermont. They are delicious on their own, in donuts, or pies! We are fortunate to have a number of local apple orchards in Vermont. In the store you’ll see apples from Champlain Orchards, Scott Farm Orchard, and Shelburne Orchards.
1 pound = 2 large apples = 2 cups cored and sliced
6 cups cored and sliced = Standard pie recipe
Best pie apples: Choose a mixture of tart and sweet apples. Choose more tart/tannic apples than sweet apples for the best balance of flavors and texture.
Tart: Northern Spy, Mutsu, Cortland
Sweet: McIntosh, Macoun, Zestar
*Tart apples are also good added to bread stuffing or wild rice pilaf and to flavor the cavity of a turkey or placed in the bottom of the turkey-roasting pan.
Best apples diced raw in salads and side dishes: Mutsu, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Red Delicious
Best apples for applesauce and cranberry-applesauce: McIntosh, Liberty, Empire, Braeburn
Check out the following recipes that use these tasty varieties of apples:
Squash & Potatoes
These staple fall and winter veggies are comforting and versatile. But, there are so many different varieties it can be overwhelming. As a good rule of thumb, thick-skinned potatoes are generally soft and mash easily, but for added color and flavor look beyond Russet potatoes. Look for local options from Golden Russet Farm, Dog River Farm, Last Resort Farm, and Fully Belly Farm, just to name a few!
1 pound = 3 cups sliced = 2 cups mashed
Best potatoes for mashing or frying: Russet, Chef
Best potatoes for roasting or chunkier mashed potatoes: German Butterball, Red potatoes, Yukon, Nicola, Fingerling
For purple, red, or pink mashed potatoes: Purple potatoes, All Red potatoes, Mountain Rose potatoes
There are many different varieties of sweet potatoes, typically soft-fleshed varieties are best for mashing and firmer sweet potatoes are best for baking and roasting. Check out Laughing Child Farm, local sweet potato experts.
Jewel – a firm variety that is great for baking and roasting with a slightly nutty taste
Garnet – a soft variety that is great for mashing; a deep orange color; (super sweet locally-grown varieties are seasonally available)
Beauregard – a firmer variety of sweet potato that often has an elongated shape and reddish skin; its lower sugar content and nutty taste make it good for roasting and baking
Covington – a soft-fleshed sweet potato; good all-purpose mashing potato with a sweet taste
Evangeline – another soft-fleshed sweet potato, good for mashing, deep orange color
To prepare any winter squash or pumpkin, simply slice in half, remove the seeds with a spoon, and place cut side down in a 350 to 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes. Roast until flesh is fork tender. Here are some of the names of local farms who supply us with these everlasting beautiful squash and pumpkins, Burnt Rock Farm, Jericho Settlers Farm, and River Berry Farm.
Best pie varieties: Pie pumpkin (soft and moist), Butternut squash (silky and more delicate flavor)
Best soup varieties: Cinderella pumpkin, Kuri squash, Butternut squash *bake round varieties in oven first and make puree for ease of handling; peel and dice long-necked squash
Best baking varieties: Sweet dumpling, Acorn, Buttercup, Carnival squash *slice in half and bake with a little butter and maple syrup
Best roasting varieties: Butternut squash (peel removed), Delicata (peel-on) *cube and roast with olive oil and sea salt
Here are a few recipes that showcase squash and potatoes:
Onions accentuate the flavors of many dishes but can also be the star of a side dish or vegetarian entrée. At times, it can be hard to branch out from your go-to yellow onion because there are so many amazing options. Check out our tips below to guide you in which onion to buy for different dishes. You can find a variety of local onions from Pomykala Farm, Last Resort Farm, Full Moon Farm and many others.
Cipollini onions – small, flattened onions that are high in residual sugars which makes them great for roasting or caramelizing
Leeks – have a milder, sweeter flavor than onions; use just the white and light green part and slice in half lengthwise to wash well; delicious with apples in stuffing, braised as a side dish, or cooked in a tart or potato-leek gratin for a vegetarian entrée
Pearl onions – small and sweet, they are often served as a side dish with a sweet glaze. To prepare them for glazing, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add onions, and cook 3 minutes to loosen skins. Drain, and cool slightly. Slice top off root end, squeeze, and skins will slide off
Red onions – both sharp and sweet tasting, their pretty purple color fades somewhat when cooked; mince and use raw in salad and side dishes for added color; also complements roasted roots and winter squash
Shallots – sweeter and more pungent flavor than onions; they pair well with apples and thyme to flavor stuffing, and are great caramelized and added to string beans or Brussels sprouts
Sweet onions (Walla Walla, Vidalia) – these have a sweeter flavor without the astringent bite of other onions; mince or slice raw in salads, or anywhere you want a silky and sweet onion flavor
White onions – tend to have a sharper and more pungent flavor; mince raw to flavor vinaigrette for salads and side dishes
Yellow onions – all-purpose onion with a sweet and earthy flavor that becomes sweeter when cooked
Dive into these candy-like onion recipes below:
Again, here is the link for our Thanksgiving Produce Guide. We have tons of local produce available right now so have fun, be creative and enjoy the flavors of the fall! Interested in more recipes? Check out our vast recipe collection here!