My calendar declares the season changed from summer to fall. While my thoughts begin to turn to warm soups, Halloween costumes and trying to remember a jacket, I’m not ready to give up on fresh tomatoes and homegrown zucchini – not just yet.
Farmers across the state are still reaping vine-ripened treasures in their fields and gardens, and there is still time to savor all that fresh Missouri local produce can offer. Missouri farmers’ markets are a fantastic venue to find these treasures.
I was especially pleased this year to find a newer market near my home in Jefferson City. The Lincoln University Farmers’ Market has kept my family supplied with pesticide-free or organic produce, whole grain breads and fresh blackberry jam (my husband’s favorite) since May. My children are always up for joining me (I think the fresh-baked cookies and banana-bread samples have a hand in that), turning a regular grocery trip into a Saturday-morning tradition I will dearly miss as the weather cools … but not just yet.
We’ve enjoyed the samples, the musician’s tent, and getting to know the vendors. I found vegetables I hadn’t seen before, discussed recipes with the growers and picked up some valuable pest-control tips for healthier plants. I’ve even made connections with local farmers to purchase some end-of-season produce in bulk, to freeze for those winter soup and crock-pot recipes, allowing me to hang onto summer just a bit longer.
My husband has mentioned making the first chili of the season soon; I know I’ll enjoy all of the upcoming fall tastes and traditions. I may even get a little early Christmas shopping completed at the numerous fall festivals around mid-Missouri. But as long as the farmers’ markets beckon (most are open at least through October), I will be there each week, enjoying a taste of Missouri. I’ll also sample some of what autumn brings: fall lettuces, pumpkins and mums.
The change of seasons is a special and beautiful time for Missouri, but you don’t have to give up the taste of summer … not just yet.
Note: View the Missouri Farmers’ Market Report for a weekly update of treasures you can expect to find at local markets.
Written by Laura Holloway, a communications professional living in Jefferson City, exploring Missouri with her husband and two young children as often as possible.