Summer meets fall in the produce department!
It’s September and we are finally getting a little taste of fall—the nighttime temps have dropped a bit along with the humidity, and the first local apples are starting to grace the stores’ shelves. This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of the last weeks of summer produce as well as enjoy a taste of fall’s bounty. Here’s a little peek into the local produce you can find from both seasons in the stores right now:
Peppers are heat loving, but once they get well-established in the garden they’ll keep producing until frost. We have sweet mini peppers, jalapenos, shishitos, and a variety of hot and seasoning peppers (like habanero and “habanada,” a pepper that looks and tastes like a habanero but without the heat!)
Okra is a kind of “love it or hate it” vegetable, and I personally love it. It is likewise a heat loving vegetable that will last until frost and is a great addition to stews and soups when the weather cools down. The substance that can make okra seem slimy has the benefit of being a great thickener for stews and gumbo. If you prefer your okra on its own though, try roasting small pods whole or cooking them quickly on high heat.
These are the last weeks to enjoy NC peaches, so get ’em while they’re hot! Our peaches come from Deal Orchards in Taylorsville, NC from July until September. The later season peaches are always “freestone” varieties, meaning they separate easily from the pit. This makes them ideal for canning and freezing, as they are easier to process. Peach pie, anyone?
Muscadine grapes have just arrived! These nutrient-packed gems are an underdog as far as I’m concerned and need a little bit more time in the spotlight. Muscadines are a southern specialty and a locally grown superfruit! The antioxidant value of muscadines surpasses even blueberries and pomegranate! Much of the nutritional value is in the skin and seeds though, which many people spit out. Try this instead: freeze the muscadines whole and add to your morning smoothie to get the full nutritional benefits!
And of course, everyone’s favorite sign of fall—the first NC apples. Some varieties mature earlier than others and those are what we are seeing right now—ginger gold and gala, and we hope to see some honeycrisp soon as well. Did you know that honeycrisp apples command a higher price not because of the marketing hype (although that may have a little to do with it, too), but because they are actually a very difficult apple to grow. Growers sometimes have to cull (meaning to toss unmarketable fruit) 30 to 50 percent of their honeycrisp crop due to blemishes and rot. Consumer demand for them is so high though, they keep on growing them.
This week’s owner coupon is $10 off a $30 purchase of produce, good through September 11, 2019. Owners, look for the coupon in our weekly e-news, sent on Wednesday morning. If you didn’t get the coupon, you may need to update your email address in our owner database. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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