Fall Produce Shines At The Olympia Farmers Market

olympia farmers market


By Mary Ellen Psaltis

color graphics logoSummer seems to be going full bore – then I flip the calendar to September and suddenly everything changes. School is in session, evening comes sooner and our food preferences shift as well. The Olympia Farmers Market stays open until Christmas (that’s still a few months out), but now you will see the products reflecting the autumnal flavors of the season.

Sulllivan’s Homestead’s Giovanni Shore will undoubtedly be experimenting with over 40 varieties of peppers. He likes to eat great food and often has a food pairing or recipe to share with me. Peppers are a nutritious and potentially intense way to make your meals pop! From lightly sweet and spicy to hot-cha-cha, add peppers to soups, stews and salads. Raw or cooked – either way works. You can also pick up a few late storage onions.

olympia farmers marketStone fruits like peaches, plums and pluots (plum/apricot hybrid) will be plentiful in September.  Fall brings more than 15 varieties of apples and pears. You can wrap and store them in boxes in your garage, if you want your own stash. This is also the time to stock up on tomatoes.

Dean Pigman of Pigman’s Organic Produce is thinking about squash, pumpkins and corn. I don’t can vegetables or fruit (yet) but I do store squash, which last quite a while in a cool, dry place. This allows me to roast them on demand for batches of soup. Squash soup is easy to prepare and deeply satisfying as the days cool off. I cut up roasted squash, peel off the skin and sauté with onions. Add water and/or nut milk and simmer. Pumpkin spices are excellent companions. A splash of eggnog (when we get further into the year) atop a hot bowl of squash soup keeps me coming back for more.

Produce is not the only change a coming.

Look for pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie at Wagner’s Market Place Bakery. Soon enough they will also supply butter flake rolls and fruitcake. There is always the ever-popular cinnamon bread. Please don’t fight over the last loaf! I’ve heard it has happened before. There will be more tomorrow – or call ahead.

Johnson’s Berry Farm could have strawberries for a while – but that depends on the amount of rain we receive. We don’t want too much too soon. Strawberries will last as long as they last. But as the weather takes over and the just-picked berry season ends, you can always buy their jam.

olympia farmers marketEggs aren’t really a seasonal product, but sometimes egg-laying slows down a little as the days shorten. You can buy eggs from well-treated chickens from Honey Bear Farm. Karen and Ivan Rogers also sell their delicious raw (not pasteurized) honey as well as honey sticks and pollen. Honey is a “healer both inside and out,” explains Karen. That means you can eat it or put it directly onto the skin. It has been shown to be both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

Even the meat is making a shift. Oakland Bay Farms will be selling smoked, cured hams and broth to make your own soup. Jason Dexter said that they will be putting out all sort of stew meats: lamb, pork and beef.  Their grass-fed animal products could be a welcome addition to your hot dishes at home. Perhaps with a few of those peppers.

Are you thinking you don’t want to do your own cooking? I have days like that. Visit ever-smiling Roberto Perez at Los Tuleños. Perez says they “always have hot food.” I think he meant the temperature, not necessarily the spice level. You get to pick your heat level of salsa. For the upcoming cooler weather, Los Tuleños will be serving chicken soup and albondigas, a classic Mexican soup with meatballs and vegetables. Throughout the Market season, you can have pozole to warm you up.

If your crockpot has been stored away for the summer, dig it out and plug it in. Fill to the rim with root vegetables and all the other treasures awaiting you at your favorite stall within the Olympia Farmers Market. Chop up everything the night before, and then plug it in before you leave the house the next morning. When you come home, you will be greeted with the aromas of a fabulous meal. It’s just waiting for you to get your bowls and spoons.

Eat Well – Be Well.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email