When the ground grows cold, root vegetables, winter squash, and hardy greens start storing sugar to help keep from freezing. Why not stock up on some sugar of your own, in the form of cider doughnuts or molasses cookies?
What to Look For
Pears test our patience: They're usually sold rock hard and require a few days to ripen. Then there's the instantly gratifying beurre bosc pear. It starts out with tangy, delicately floral flesh that's as crisp as that of a fine-textured Asian pear. As it softens, it develops the syrupy juice that inspired the "butter" half of its name ($1.50 per pound at Locust Grove, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Purple kale, with its silky leaves, sweet, crunchy stems and mild earthy taste, is one of the finest of the leafy greens currently in abundance. Saut it briefly, or braise it (recipe) ($1.50 per bunch at Migliorelli, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
No longer overheated and swatting flies, local cows are calmer and more productive, and their whole milk has become ivory colored, particularly rich, and nearly as sweet as custard ($1.25 per twelve ounces at Ronnybrook Farm, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Cauliflower, the darling buds of October, is available in a bouquet of colors and sizes. Small heads of orange cheddar cauliflower retain their gorgeous color when roasted and have a particularly dense, sweet, fresh flavor that is concentrated by high heat (recipe) ($5 per pound at Norwich Meadows, available Monday and Saturday).
If you're thinking of trying a local turkey this Thanksgiving, order it this week to guarantee you'll get the exact size you want ($2.99 per pound for big, mild-tasting domestic turkeys with plenty of light meat; $5.99 per pound for smaller, slightly gamey, mostly dark-meat wild turkeys. Both at Quattros Game Farm, available Saturday).
Blink and You'll Miss It
Lemon-mint eucalyptus has a citrus-clean scent, and its red-tinged green leaves make for a dramatic fall display ($10 per large bunch at the River Garden, available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). Also, most of the market's flower stands will sell the last of their fresh bunches by mid-month, so gather ye dahlias now.