Start at the Farmers Market for holiday meals

The jack-o-lanterns have been tossed to the compost pile, we've gorged ourselves on candy and now we're dusting off recipes for upcoming fall holiday traditions. That means planning a monster trip to the grocery store, right? Bumper carts in the aisles, a turkey raised a thousand miles away, and a tussle in the produce section for that last wilted bunch of beets.

Okay, so maybe it isn't that bad. But this year, consider skipping the grocery store for some of your needs and opt instead for local-foods-themed holiday meals. You'll get the bonus of a conversation with a farmer, and you'll know the path that your food traveled from farm to plate.

A mild fall like this one means that there are abundant staples at market such as sweet potatoes, squash, and turnips. There are eggs and locally grown and milled wheat flour for your baking needs. Several market vendors offer meats, whether you are looking for a holiday ham, a heritage turkey, or beef roast. Or go for elk steaks, goat chops or emu loin.

Then there are the greens: kales, chards, spinach, arugula, bok choy, and peppery salad greens. If the forecast holds to lows in the 30s or near, you'll likely still see radishes, daikon, carrots, beets and a few green tomatoes in the coming weeks.

Of course, you can buy or order pies, cakes, scones and other pastries while you're there, and pick up gifts from craft vendors, too.

The weekly Saturday farmers market is open until the Saturday before Thanksgiving -the last day is Nov. 17. Stop by this week to chat with farmers about the food they grow and you will have more than a grocery store receipt when you get home. - Jen

Frost-covered greens at the Red Tractor Farm in southern Douglas County

Frost-covered greens at the Red Tractor Farm in southern Douglas County by Jen Humphrey

Tagged: fall, farmers market, heritage turkey, shopping


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