Summer Heat to Autumn’s Treats: A Fall Produce preview


By Liora Fishman

With the city sweltering under the blazing sun, I find myself eyeing the calendar, waiting for relief from this scorching summer. Luckily, fall is gently approaching, and with it comes a delightful bounty of seasonal produce. So, let’s take a moment turn our attention to the flavors of autumn that await us—a culinary oasis amidst this summer heat.

The produce aisle is vibrant in late summer and early fall.

A Coop expert looks at Fall

“Well, the highlights of the fall,” Cecelia Rembert, Produce Coordinator, explained, include “the winter squashes; local, dark, braising greens, such as tatsoi and baby bok choy.”

Additionally, Rembert says, “local apples are just starting with Paula Red and Ginger Gold, and more local apples will arrive as they are harvested… including Zestar, Cameo, Empire, Macoun, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. Grapes are in season in the fall, with both California varieties and local varieties such as Concord.“

Fall Highlights: The winter squashes; local, dark, brasising greens, like tatsoi and baby bok choy.

This year, the Coop is working with a new vendor. “In the produce department we have onboarded a new distributor this summer, Zone 7… which brings an array of New Jersey produce,“ says Rembert. “We have also have begun working with Tivoli mushrooms, who grow and source specialty mushrooms out of Hudson, New York.“

Hardy acorn squashes shine next to tender delicatas.

Breath of Fresh Air: NYC’s Fall Produce Feast

As we seek solace in our daydreams of cooler temperatures and autumn foliage, we can anticipate the produce that will soon reach the Coop’s aisles. Here are some New York City-centric seasonal produce items we can look forward to.

Apples: From Honeycrisp to Gala and Granny Smith, the apple harvest will grade our orchards soon. From homemade applesauce to divine caramel apple pies, the culinary options are endless.

Pumpkins: Pumpkins will soon be back, and so, too, will Pumpkin Spice—everything. Far more than decorative delights, use your pumpkin to make a comforting soup, roasted seeds, and the beloved pumpkin spice latte. 

Brussels Sprouts: Overlooked during the heat, Brussels sprouts reach their true glory in the fall. Roast them with a balsamic glaze, and you’ll never miss.

Butternut Squash: Creamy and decadent, butternut squash embodies the very essence of fall. Whether roasted with cinnamon and nutmeg or transformed into a velvety soup, it promises the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with the season. 

Cranberries: Don’t let the powerful tang of cranberries deter you from cooking with these—cranberries make excellent additions to cocktails and delectable baked goods.

Butternut squash can go sweet or savory.

Cooking Up Fall: Delicious Dishes to Try

As we wait for the cooler weather, let’s dream up some mouthwatering fall recipes.

Autumnal Roasted Vegetables: You can’t get an easier, more satisfying dish than this. Mix butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes and roast them with herbs and olive oil for a tasty side dish.

Hearty Apple and Sausage Stuffing: Though Thanksgiving looms in the distance, it’s never too early to do some recipe testing in advance. Mix diced apples, savory sausage, and toasted breadcrumbs for a feast-worthy stuffing.

Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash: The variations of squash at our disposal each autumn is a personal favorite perk of Coop membership—and acorn squash is often at the top of my list. Glaze acorn squash rings with maple syrup, butter, and cinnamon; then roast them until they’re tender and delicious.

Cranberry-Pecan Salad: Create a refreshing salad with mixed greens, dried (or fresh!) cranberries, candied pecans, and feta cheese. Drizzle with a tangy dressing.

Summer melons will give way to apples soon.

Beyond NYC: Exploring Fall Produce Across the Country

While we relish the fall produce in NYC, there’s more goodness to discover beyond our city limits. Sunny California, cozy Vermont, and the Texan heartland—each region has its own fall treats to savor.

California: Sweet and Flavorful Harvest
California is a fall food paradise too! Pomegranates add a tangy-sweet kick to dishes, while persimmons offer a natural candy-like sweetness. Artichokes bring a nutty flavor, and roasted Brussels sprouts turn into tasty delights.

Vermont: Apples and Maple Goodness
Up in Vermont, orchards are a sight to see! The apples are perfect for pies and ciders. And of course, there’s the famous maple syrup—drizzle sweetness over everything!

Texas: Pecans and Sweet Potatoes
In the Lone Star State, pecans shine with their buttery richness, elevating both sweet and savory dishes. Sweet potatoes add warmth and texture to fall recipes.

Braising greens like kale and tatsoi will join the cabbages.

Autumn is Coming

Fall in NYC means flavor-packed goodness. One highlight: comforting pumpkin dishes; also, embrace the season with roasted veggies, apple stuffing, and maple-glazed acorn squash.

Some fall faves: roasted squashes, heirloom apples and local leafy greens like spinach, tatsoi and mustards.

“Personally, I love roasted local cauliflower and shallots, tossed with greens,” said Rembert, when asked what her favorite fall produce is. “I love all the roasted squashes, the heirloom apples, and local leafy greens like spinach, tatsoi and mustards.”

Plus, Rembert disclosed an insider tip: “When we can get them, the fresh barhi dates are my personal favorite. Hopefully we will be able to get them this year!”

As we count down the days until cooler temperatures (some may savor the heat, for reasons beyond my understanding), make plans to enjoy the culinary fun with loved ones. Happy (almost) fall!

Liora Fishman lives in Prospect Heights, and has a dog named Ollie.