Okay, it’s officially October and Halloween is just around the corner. While most of us will be indulging in candy and pumpkin pie this month, what will you be doing differently? Seasonal Eats will sum up the freshest food in Fort Collins that is in peak season this fall.
What’s in Season?
Despite how much we all love pumpkin, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that our in season. According to Seasonal Food Guide corn, apples, green beans, cherries, and lettuce are all in season as well. Have a look at this site, and get creative!
Here are some of our current seasonal favorites, why we like them, and what to do with them!
Where to find it:
To find the freshest spinach in Northern Colorado, your best option will be to head down to the Larimer County Farmers Market. All their dates will be posted on a weekly basis about where the Market will be held. As fall comes to an end and the market shuts down for good (10/28), another great source for farm fresh spinach is Native Hills Farm. Located just a few miles from Old Town, you can see your spinach being freshly grown while purchasing it.
What to do with spinach:
Put it in a can, eat it all in one gulp, and go save Olive Oyl with your now massive forearms. There’s a reason spinach is so highly associated with the muscular sailor Popeye, the leaves of this flowering lettuce-type are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. The high versatility of spinach means you can add it to almost any house salad, make it into a creamy artichoke or feta dip, or steam it and add it to any pasta dish. Do you have picky kids who won’t touch their vegetables? Add some steamed spinach and italian sausage to your mac and cheese for a tasty and easy treat.
If you’re feeling a little more like going out for a good meal, go check out La Creperie & French Bakery in Fort Collins, located at 2722 S. College Ave. Along with spinach, they take other fresh, local foods and mix them in to make delicious omelets! They even let you customize your omelet, so be sure to ask for extra spinach!
No, not the popular headphones by Dr. Dre, but the beetroot. Beets are often considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. And guess what, it’s also in season. But if you plan on getting the best of beets, you better hurry, October is the last optimal month for their farming. Beets are great for lowering blood pressure, detoxing, and helping fight cancer and inflammation. Although, they have very high sugar content (think sugarbeets). If you’re looking for an easy breakfast, try boiling the beets the night before, then blending the beets with a banana for a yummy smoothie!
Not many people know that sugar beets used to be Northern Colorado’s primary export. There were many beet processing plants, starting in Loveland in 1901 then building more in Greeley, Eaton, Fort Collins, and Windsor. This sweet history even prompted the local popular play, Beets. The booming Fort Collins beet factory closed it’s doors in 1955, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great places to find them! Try beets from the Fort Collins Food Co-Op, Whole Foods, or Sprouts!
Yes, yes, of course potatoes are in season as well. Potatoes tend to be harvested between July and November, but why not throw them into your October diet as well? Potatoes are also a great source of nutrition. They can help improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, and boost heart health. You can buy potatoes as your local supermarket and make a home cooked meal for the whole family for your guests. Everyone loves potatoes! If you get a chance, be sure to add a baked potato, mashed potato, or even french fries to your regular family dinner.
If you’re looking to check out a potato farm and pick up some local potatoes, we suggest Strohauer Farms in La Salle, CO. They are USDA organic and are welcoming to people to stop by and pick up potatoes and onions from their packing shed. You can find them at 200 N. 1st St., La Salle, CO 80645.
When cooking with your potatoes:
- Make sure to cut out sprout buds and bad spots
- Avoiding using any potatoes that has green markings or mushy areas
- Make sure to scrub them with a brush under warm running water
- And remember, check the potatoes right away to find the spoiled ones. (One spoiled potato can quickly spoil a whole bag)
Most of us think of raspberries as summer berries, but surprise! They’re also in season! Before you clean the blender from you beets smoothie, try experimenting once again by throwing in some raspberries. Now why would you do that? Raspberries can aid in weightloss, boost immunity, and protect against fungal and bacterial infections. Try throwing them in a batch of brownies! Delicious!
Now raspberries are cool, but what’s even cooler? Picking them yourself! Garden Sweet Farms in Fort Collins allows anyone to enter their PYO (Pick Your Own) fields on the weekend for $5 per person and pick your own raspberries, flowers, pumpkins and strawberries. Raspberries, specifically red and yellow, are a great crop to grow in Colorado because of their durability in the winter as they are perennials.
Carrots are another extremely healthy food that are farmed through November. They have very high levels of Vitamin A. Along with many other foods we have listed, carrots can also strongly aid in digestion by supplying essential minerals and enzymes to the body. Grab yourself a bag of carrots, cut them up, and throw them in with your pasta dishes, steak, or leave out a platter for your guests.
Carrots are a great root veggie to grow here in Colorado because it is a cool season vegetable. Hungenberg Farms, in Greeley Colorado, is a large farm which specializes in carrots and cabbage. You can find their product at a large produce market such as King Soopers, Whole Foods, or Sprouts.
Okay, now that we got the healthy stuff out of the way, let’s get to what Fall food is really about: Pumpkins. Like it or not, pumpkin spice season is back and it’s bigger than ever! Picking the right pumpkin can be tricky, as no one is alike, but we have some tips and tricks that might help you in finding the perfect fit.
- Pick ones that feel heavy for their size. This can indicate denser flesh and more pumpkin!
- Stay away from pumpkins with black spots or a mushy, soft outside. This could indicate a bug infestation or a pumpkin at the end of it’s shelf life.
- Make sure the pumpkin has a bright orange color as a dull color could mean it has frost damage or will start rotting soon.
Where to find them
Aside from your local supermarket, pumpkins can be found in Fort Collins directly from the farm at Bartles Farm, or on Colorado State University’s campus. CSU works hands on with ARDEC Farms, a local farm just north of Fort Collins.The farm partners with the CSU horticulture club and allows them to grow pumpkins and sell them on Campus. The club sells their pumpkins every Tuesday and Thursday in front of Sheppardson Hall. Their prices are very affordable, with a small pumpkin being sold as low as $1 and a large pumpkin going for $5-$10.
Other Potential Seasonal Foods:
We compiled the “best of the rest” foods that are in season and put them in a chart for easy navigation. Take a look at what’s in season and head over to Food Geeks to find the best tasting recipes that cater your diet using these fresh fruits and vegetables.
We hope this gave all of you locals an idea what’s in season and how you can you can make the most of it. Remember that these are all just helpful tips and you can always change things up to fit your own needs or style. If anyone would like to add anything or offer suggestions for future posts, feel free to leave us a comment!
Enjoy this beautiful season!