QUESTION: I know that autumn means pumpkins will be available in abundance, but what other produce is in season in the fall?
ANSWER: You are correct: This is the time of year when you will start to see pumpkins, squash, and gourds, which are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family, for sale in grocery aisles, farmers markets, and farms.
But fall is also a good time to buy grapes, apples, watermelons, potatoes, berries, zucchini, yellow squash, and peaches, among many other seasonal fruits and vegetables. In fact, those are some of the commodities that many grocery stores are now starting to promote heavily at discounted prices in their grocery aisles, according to the Sept. 4 edition of the National Retail Report, a weekly roundup of advertised retail pricing information compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As mentioned in a previous Chow Line, although improved technology and agricultural innovations mean that consumers can access fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season. When ripe, produce is fresher and typically has its best taste. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are also typically cheaper to purchase because they are easier to produce than fruits and vegetables that are grown out of season.
So how do you know which fruits and vegetables are in season?
One way to find seasonal foods near you is to use an app and website developed by Grace Communications Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for sustainable foods. The app compiles data from the USDA and the Natural Resources Defense Council on over 140 varieties of produce to show users which fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts are in season, on a state-by-state basis.
Called the Seasonal Food Guide, the app and website allow users to check which produce is in season in half-month increments in each state. Other sources to check include the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio Proud, among others.
While this is not an all-inclusive list, generally speaking, the following produce, among others, is in season in Ohio in the fall:
Adding any of these fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good idea. Not only are fruits and veggies naturally low in calories, eating them might help reduce the risks of multiple diseases including high blood pressure, some cancers, and heart disease, experts say.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or email@example.com.