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What to Eat This Fall

Enjoy the Season's Freshest Foods
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
For most of us, eating seasonally is a foreign concept. Many people don't even know that foods have a season, let alone what foods are in season at any given time of year. In the US, we enjoy practically unlimited access to any food at any time of the year. Tomatoes in December are nice, but not without consequences. Flavor suffers, nutrient levels decline, and environmental impact soars with each mile a food must travel to reach its ultimate destination.

Seasonal food, on the other hand, is fresh and local! Boasting a host of benefits, including better flavor, more nutrients, and less environmental burden, it's usually picked just hours or days before you buy it (while standard supermarket produce can weather many days or even weeks in transport). It’s also healthier for the environment because the food has traveled a shorter distance, meaning fewer fossil fuels are used in its transport from the farm to your table.

Possibly the best benefit though, is that seasonal food is always interesting, as each season brings a new crop of foods that you haven't had for an entire year. Before you've had a chance to tire of its bounty, the season changes to bring new, flavorful foods to add to your pantry.

Shopping for seasonal foods is easy—a fun trip to your local farmer's market will yield the majority of the ingredients you need. Availability will vary from region to region, but here's a general list of foods that make fall their season, along with tips on how to incorporate these ingredients into your meals. <pagebreak>

Fall Vegetables Fall Fruits
Fruit is always easy. It is ready to eat, tastes great, and kids love it. But if you're looking for some new ways to incorporate fruit into your menu besides the "grab and bite" technique, try fruit smoothies, fruit cobblers and fruit-topped pancakes and French toast. Fall Seasonings
If you've done a little cooking, you probably know that the seasonings can make the meal. Here are some seasonal seasonings for your fall suppers. If your pantry isn't stocked with the season's tastiest and most nutritious staples, then get yourself to your local farmer's market and add flavor to your meals with the best autumn seasonings. To find a farmer's market near you, visit www.localharvest.org, and enjoy the bounty of fall!