What to Look For
Long, slim white sweet potatoes have tan skins and creamy flesh that cooks up to a pineapple yellow. Roast, slice, and serve them unadorned; your guests may pick up hints of lavender honey, butter, and cider. To gild the lily, use wherever a dry-fleshed sweet potato is called for, as in this apple-laced gratin (recipe) ($1.50 per pound at Yuno's Farm, available Monday only this week).
The stem-end protrusion and dark-green base of the red kuri squash reveal its relation to kabocha. The radiant vermillion orb contains vegetal, sweet-potato-colored flesh with a flavor that suggests scallions and hazelnuts. Use the smooth, dense meat for a gratin, or make it into pie ($.75 per pound at Paffenroth, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Red cipollini onions are a squat, old-fashioned Italian variety sweet enough to eat raw, small enough to roast whole, and easier to peel than pearl onions. Tossed in the turkey pan for the last half-hour of cooking, they emerge in shades of violet, succulent and creamy on the inside, crisp and caramelized out. Or glaze them in wine for a russet-hued side (recipe) ($2 per pound at Paffenroth, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Currently one of the best options for pie, large green mutsu apples (a.k.a. crispins) have the greatest depth of flavor, with tart acidity and a honeyed sweetness. Their pale flesh retains its shape in baking, and while they're juicy, they won't flood a crust ($1.25 per pound at Caradonna, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Hakurei turnips are at their peak. Mild enough to eat raw, skin and all, they're by far the easiest turnip to prepare. Their crisp sweetness makes them seem like a cross between a cucumber and an apple. Braising gives them a clear, almost milky flavor and allows their greens to wilt ($3.50 per bunch at Hawthorne Valley, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Blink and You'll Miss It
Early birds who ordered turkeys will be picking them up this week, but there's hope for procrastinators. Give DiPaolo a call and snatch up one of the remaining whole birds at your requested weight (between nine and sixteen pounds), or show up before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, when there should still be some unclaimed gobblers on hand ($2.20 per pound at DiPaolo's Turkeys, available Wednesday this week).
— Zoe Singer