There's no better way to embrace the fall season than by enjoying its bountiful harvest. Fall harvest is full of a wide variety of produce and diverse nutrition. By exploring your local farmer's market, you can support your community and pick up some of your favorite fall foods. Here's a guide to the seasonal produce you should be indulging in this autumn.

Eating Locally

It's easy to forget the impact that our food choices have on the environment, economy, and nutrition of the products themselves. Out-of-season produce usually has to be shipped from other states or even countries, which requires much more energy to get it from the farm to your table. By choosing local produce, you'll know that your choices are seasonal. Purchasing local products also supports your community by boosting your local economy and helping to ensure that the farmland in your area is maintained.

Buying produce locally also has a great impact on nutrition and purchase value. Produce that's bought at a farmer's market was likely picked days, if not hours, prior to purchase. Compare this to conventional, imported produce, which may have been picked weeks before you bring it home. Not only are nutrients lost every day after a fruit or vegetable is picked, but local produce will likely take longer to go bad because it was harvested closer to the time of purchase.

Embracing the Fall Harvest

So what foods are seasonal in the fall? Here are some of the most common fall favorites you'll find:

Making the Most of Seasonal Nutrition

What unique nutrition does fall produce have to offer? Let's take a look:

  • Squash, Pumpkins, and Sweet Potatoes:

    The bright orange color of these fall favorites is an indicator of the high levels of vitamin A they contain. Vitamin A is essential to eye and immune health.

  • Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower:

    These veggies belong to the cruciferous vegetable family and are full of antioxidants like vitamin C, which are essential to immune health.

  • Apples and Pears:

    These two fruits are perfect for snacking or baking in a pie, and are full of fiber, which is necessary for healthy digestion.

  • Cranberries:

    These tart berries are a great source of bone-supporting manganese. They're also full of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which help reduce inflammation and combat chronic illness.

  • Swiss Chard:

    Found in a variety of colors, Swiss chard is one of the best sources of vitamin K you can find. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health. Swiss chard is also a wonderful vegetarian source of iron.

This fall season, be sure to celebrate the fall harvest by picking up some seasonal produce at your local farmer's market or grocery store. By embracing the foods that are available during each season, you'll be able to consume and serve the most flavorful, nutritious foods.