What’s in Season Right Now
From excessive heat to abundant snowfall, it's been one wild winter. Thankfully, fruits and veggies are still thriving. Here's what's ripe near you.
Sure, no one has ever called winter “harvest season,” but that doesn’t mean there’s not a bountiful selection at farmers markets right now. The “eat local” movement has ensured that some markets have enough demand to run year-round, long after the last summer plum has been picked, even if that means moving indoors to avoid frostbite. From fresh produce to pickles, here are the top hearty, long-lasting selections in every Equinox city.
The Market: Coconut Grove Organic Market
The Find: Rainbow Chard
Why Buy: Colorful rainbow chard has all the traditional benefits of leafy greens including vitamins, folate, and fiber. But the vibrant colors in the stems of these leafy greens indicate the presence of extra phytonutrients, so don’t toss the stems aside: Thinly slice the stems crosswise and start sautéing them in olive oil and garlic a few minutes before you add the chard leaves.
The Market: The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles
The Find: Strawberries
Why Buy: Yep, when the rest of the country is buried under a foot of snow, Southern California is basking in the beginnings of a very sweet strawberry season. Look for plump, fragrant berries that are red from tip to stem, then make them last by storing them in a single layer in the refrigerator and washing just before using.
The Market: Ramsey Farmers Market
The Find: Mushrooms
Why Buy: Mushroom connoisseurs chase the wide variety of mushrooms grown by Madura Farms, such as maitake, king oyster, lion's mane, enokitake, pioppini, beech nut, shiitake, oyster, and reishi. Look for reishi mushrooms—the exotic-sounding ‘shroom is valued in traditional Chinese medicine for it’s health-boosting abilities and is known to help normalize blood pressure, fight stress, and boost immunity. Simmer in a brothy soup for a serious winter cold cure, or steep in hot water overnight for a medicinal mushroom tea.
NEW YORK CITY
The Market: Union Square Greenmarket
The find: Turnips
Why buy: These root vegetables store particularly well in cool conditions, so they can be sold from farmers’ cold storage stash of produce all winter long. Turnips have a third of the calories of potatoes, so swap out about half the spuds in a soup or mashed potato recipe for turnips to create a stealthily lighter dish.
The Market: Cambridge Winter Farmers Market
The Find: Celeriac
Why Buy: Also called celery root, the celeriac from Winter Moon Roots Farm may appear gnarly and unapproachable, but peel off the rough exterior to reveal a pale, white flesh with the delicate flavor of celery. Celeriac is a very good source of potassium—it has about as much potassium as a banana, with fewer than half of the carbohydrates. Slice into cubes and roast, or boil and puree with broth for a creamy soup without the cream.
The Market: St. Lawrence Market
The Find: Sheep’s Milk Yogurt
Why Buy: The Balkan-style sheep’s milk yogurt from Best Baa Farm is made with just milk from local sheep and cultures. Sheep’s milk is packed with protein, calcium, and B vitamins. It’s also more easily digested by people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk: It doesn’t have caesin, the type of protein in dairy that can cause problems for sensitive types.
The Market: Westport Farmers Market
The Find: Winter spinach
Why Buy: The first crop of winter spinach from Fort Hill Farms in Connecticut is legendarily sweet. Unlike salad-ready baby spinach, winter spinach has large, crinkled leaves. Remove the stems and rinse well, then sautee with olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of nutmeg for a classic, quick side dish that goes with just about anything.
The Market: Dallas Farmers Market
The Find: Red Grapefruit
Why Buy: Unlike their pale pink or yellow counterparts, the legendary red grapefruits grown in Texas contain lycopene, a phytonutrient that can help fight cancer and prevent sun damage on your skin. Look for a grapefruit that feels heavy for it’s size (heavier fruits have more juice), then dig in with a grapefruit knife or slice into segments over a salad.
The Market: The Dupont Circle FRESHFARM
The Find: Pickles
Why Buy: The pickled produce from Number 1 Sons is available year-round, but it’s especially popular in winter, when other local produce is in short supply. Made by natural fermentation instead of a vinegar brine, the pickles are packed with probiotics, the same type of good-for-you bacteria that give yogurt its healthy reputation.
The Market: Green City Market
The Find: Sunchokes
Why Buy: Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, these knobby tubers look a lot like ginger. Their flavor, however, couldn’t be more different: Sunchokes have a sweet, earthy taste that makes them a versatile side dish when peeled and steamed or roasted. They easily overcook, so choose sunchokes that are about the same size, to help them cook evenly together, and check on them often. Add them to your regular rotation of vegetables to get an extra dose of calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
The Market: Islington Farmers Market
The Find: Cockles
Why Buy: These saltwater clams are especially sweet and plentiful this time of year. They’re also lean protein powerhouses: Cockles have 14 grams of protein (and less than 1 gram of fat) in one 79-calorie serving. Steam them in broth and a splash of wine until just open, then sprinkle them with fresh parsley for a light yet comforting winter seafood dish.
The Market: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
The Find: Kumquats
Why Buy: Pop these little sweet-and-sour citrus fruits like candies—unlike most citrus, you can eat the whole fruit, including the peel, which means more fiber. A handful (about five kumquats) has six grams of fiber and ¾ of the vitamin C you need in a day. If they’re too tart for your taste to eat straight out of hand, try them sliced over a salad of winter greens and tossed with a honey-balsamic dressing.