10 Winter Vegetables, Fruits, and More to Buy at the Farmers Market
Root vegetables like carrots should be in abundance at any local winter farmers market, no matter your region. What you won’t find is pre-washed baby carrots—instead, look for colorful heirloom varieties. (See The Dirt on Heirloom Vegetables.)
Potatoes are easy to store for extended periods of time, meaning you should be able to find them at a farmers market year round. Skip your usual Yukon Golds for the more nutrient-dense (and exotic-looking!) blue and purple skins, which contain some of the same powerful antioxidants found in blueberries.
Unless you’re in California, salad greens likely aren’t in season in your region, so try satisfying the craving with turnips. They taste similar to mustard greens, and will pair well with any root vegetable. (Plus, the 5 Healthiest Winter Vegetables and Fruits.)
An aromatic with many culinary uses, there’s a lot you can do with just one bulb. Similar to an onion, you can use it to flavor dishes or throw in salads.
Tomatoes, eggplant, and asparagus may be long gone from the market stalls, but winter squash will be aplenty. Use it for a guiltless spaghetti squash dish, or as a base for soups. (Try 12 Sensational Spiralized Veggie Recipes.)
Beans should be available year round at a farmers market. The best thing about the dried variety is that when bought from bulk bins, they’ll save you money—even compared to canned beans from the supermarket.
Organic, free-range eggs are another seasonless farmers market staple to stock up on year-round. Eggs found in farmers markets are typically free-range or pasture-raised, which many nutritionists argue contain a significantly higher nutritional value than their supermarket counterparts. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that could be more prominent in pasture-raised eggs, which could definitely come in handy throughout the dark days of winter. (Plus, 20 Quick and Easy Ways to Cook Eggs.)
What your local market may lack in veggie variety during the colder months, it will probably make up for in vendors selling different varieties of cheese, as its availability won't be influenced by the season. Like pasture-raised eggs, cheese purchased from the farmers market is likely to come from grass-fed cows, goats, and sheep. Some nutritionists agree that this means the cheese may be more nutrient-dense.
Unless you live in a tropical region, most fresh fruits aren't in season in the winter months. But on the East Coast, at least apples, which are easy to store, will take center stage. Pears won’t be hard to track down either. Try using both as much as possible in snacks and recipes—they'll taste fresher than out-of-season fruit purchased at the supermarket.
Artisan bread makers typically still keep stalls during the winter, because like cheese and eggs, their availability won't be affected as much by the cold weather. Buy a few hearty loaves made with fiber-rich whole grains and seeds and freeze them to save yourself from extra trips. (Plus, The Best Carbs for Weight Loss.)