Don’t let the warm temperatures fool you -- Fall is in full swing and it’s a great time to save some money. “How can I save money and still eat food that is healthier for me?” you ask. Easy -- By buying locally grown food and foods that are in season.
Doing so means:
- You buy food at the peak of flavor and freshness. Peak flavor means fruits and vegetables taste good so you will want to eat them and not have them go to waste. This translates into food dollars not ending up in your trash can. Peak freshness means fruits and vegetables are packed full of all those “good for you” vitamins and minerals.
- You pay less. It costs less because the produce isn’t being shipped from around the world to get to you.
- You are supporting your local farmers. Truly the best way to know you are getting fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of freshness is by shopping at your local farmers’ markets and/or by signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that delivers fresh produce to your home weekly.
How to Tell What's "In Season"
One way to determine what's "seasonal" if you aren’t already familiar is by paying attention to the way prices are trending. Berries, peaches, nectarines and plums get really expensive at the end of fall. Another good indicator is how much is on the shelf. If you notice there's an abundance of something specific, and they're on sale (like potatoes in fall, for example,) that's a good indicator something is in season.
What’s in Season?
This time of year, look for all kinds of apples. I recommend taking a drive to the many apple orchards along the coast. Many even have tasting rooms. Orchard employees are more than willing to have you sample the many varieties of apples, including ones you won’t find in the local grocery store. They’ll also help you find just the right apple for your needs. Also available this time of year are citrus, pomegranates, cranberries and persimmons. Try sprinkling pomegranate seeds on salads and using cranberries for more than just Thanksgiving dinner. As for vegetables, the choices are abundant and include sweet potatoes; leafy greens such as spinach, kale and Swiss chard; winter squashes like butternut and acorn; Brussels sprouts; carrots; beets; onions and root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips and rutabagas. I love roasting or grilling fall vegetables. It’s quick, easy, requires only one pan and provides an extra flavor boost.
Here’s a great recipe to try with fall vegetables.
Quinoa Chili With Sweet Potatoes and Kale
(Recipe adapted from Ancient Harvest)
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash red pepper flakes
14-ounce can tomatoes (like fire roasted)
16-ounce can vegetable broth
1 can cannellini beans
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 small sweet potato, cooked and cubed
2 cups kale, torn from stalks
Optional: avocado, sour cream, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese
In a large pot over medium heat, cook 1 tbsp of olive oil and the chopped onion until the onion turns transparent, about 10 minutes.
Add the 3 chopped garlic cloves and stir, careful not to let them burn. After a few minutes, add the spices and can of tomatoes.
After a few more minutes, add the vegetable broth, white beans and quinoa. Keep stirring until the quinoa starts “popping” out of the shell (approximately 25-30 minutes).
Finally, add the precooked sweet potato and kale pieces, however big you want them to be.
Once kale is wilted to your liking, ladle into bowls and top with avocado and anything else!
Servings : 4-6