Summer is gone, and along with it, the beautiful California Hass avocados and heaps of ripe plums have left as well. Every season has its bounty to share, however! Fall has just begun, and because local grocery stores are piling up autumn’s best harvests, why not take on October with a few reusable grocery bags, a pair of sharp eyes and our list of Northern California’s 16 fruits and vegetables at their peak, as suggested by Earl’s Organic and examined at Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods? Happy shopping, everyone!
- BERRIES: Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries — make blackberry tarts and blueberry scones, eat them fresh and go wild.
- LIME: Key lime meringue pie, honey-lime glaze grilled chicken, lime sorbet — the options are endless.
- FIG: It’s an excellent autumn fruit that comes up from summer and winds down in November — make bacon-wrapped figs or fig-and-pancetta salad.
- GRAPE: How about grape jelly or some chicken salad with grapes?
- KIWI: They’re ripe and ready to eat at the end half of fall, October and November, and strawberry kiwi smoothie is a refreshing no-brainer.
- MELON: Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelons are best enjoyed in the summer heat, but they’re still in great shape in October — and cantaloupe-lime-chili soup, poached shrimp with honeydew and jicama as well as watermelon, prosciutto and balsamic vinegar bruschetta are just a few quick recipes you can try with melons.
- PEAR: Fall is the best season to grab these beauties — eat the Barlett or Comice fresh, poach or bake the Bosc for desserts and top a few slices of Asian pear in your noodle soup for some crunchy sweetness.
- POMEGRANATE: Fall is in, and so are pomegranates — their tartness is perfect for salads and chicken stews.
- CORN: It peaks in September and October — ironic considering corn is big during Thanksgiving, and you’d think they’d be peaking in November as well! Grill them as a side, simmer them to make corn soup, add them to your salmon and salsa verde tostada and enjoy!
- EGGPLANT: It’s an excellent autumn vegetable for ratatouille, pasta and stir-fry dishes.
- HERBS: October is the last time to grab herbs before winter, so stock up on herbs and look out for a future Eating Berkeley DIY project: drying herbs!
- OKRA: Okra creole, fried okra or a simple pepper grilled okra will surely make a great side dish.
- BELL PEPPER: Nab them, stuff them or roast them!
- ZUCCHINI: Fall is the last opportunity to grab them while they’re in prime condition — bake zucchini bread or do a quick pickle with zucchini and yellow squash for a refreshing salad.
- TOMATO: All tomatoes are great throughout the fall, including heirloom and cherry tomatoes, so eat them fresh or grill them with a brush of balsamic vinaigrette to truly experience the sweetness of the season.
- WINTER SQUASH: Despite their name, they are also in prime shape in the fall! Baked butternut squash risotto and quinoa-stuffed squash make easy comfort food any day.
Finally, we couldn’t resist adding in a bit of musical creativity (or not) to celebrate the season!
“Eating Berkeley’s Ode to Autumn”
— Eunice Choi
Gone are the days of warm, hot summer.
Our first thought naturally is “Oh, what a bummer,”
but fall is about to sweep in, as sweet as honey
with sweaters, hot teas and noses so runny.
Our ode kind of sucks, sorry, but hey,
we’re just excited by the treasures in our Bay.
Shop locally to see the bounty fall has in store;
like you, we thanks the season for the galore!