Farmers’ Market Fan Favorite

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What to pick, after the farmers do.

Before the weather officially confines grocery shopping to fluorescently lit aisles or laptop clicks, getting to the farmer’s market is a must. We all know that these pop-up markets offer a boost to the local economy and provide some of the freshest organic produce available, but figuring out exactly what to take home isn’t always as clear. Because area farms are limited to what is seasonably feasible to grow, their harvests might not be familiar entities to that of year-round commercial grocersand therefore finding what you need takes some research. Here are the top picks for seasonal shopping at your local farmers’ market:

Musquée de Provence Pumpkin

The Musquée de Provence is not your average jack-o’-lantern. This French variation of pumpkin is flat and wide, with a smoother, creamier texture than its American counterpartmaking it perfect for pie recipes. Because the average Musquée de Provence pumpkin weighs around 15-20 pounds, you can usually find it being sold slice by thick slice. Though its origins are exotic, preparation of the gourd doesn’t have to be. These pumpkins can be used for recipes that usually call for traditional pumpkins or Winter squash. Pumpkin is a staple of the season and should be, considering its abundance of vitamins A and C, potassium, and beta-Carotene.

In the Boston area, try Silverbrook Farm’s stall in Boston Public Market near Haymarket Station.

Cauliflower

Broccoli’s pale cousin is nothing new to the produce line-up, but how you prepare it certainly can be. A bunch of fresh, pesticide-free cauliflowerand all of its many vitamins and mineralscan be quickly pureed, mixed with raw egg, and baked to make the most guilt-free pizza crust of all time. Even more fresh than this farmer’s market vegetable pick are the recipes popping up in restaurants for grated cauliflower as a rice or mashed potato substitute your digestive system will thank you for.

Winter Squash

These colorful, oddly-shaped gourds are the best way to decorate your kitchen counter space and your fall meals. Butternut squash has been a popular menu item as of late, but need not be reserved for only trained chefs. Butternut and acorn squash can be scooped from their beige and green rinds, respectively, and blended into warm, soothing soups. For a quick side dish, each can be halved, cleaned of seeds, and baked with butter, brown sugar, and pepper. Recipes for spaghetti squash lasagna, baked directly in the rinds, are an inexpensive way to turn a vegetable into a satisfying main course.

In The Magazine, LivingRiana Odin