2013 Houston Fall Produce Guide: What To Buy & When To Buy It

Say goodbye to summer squash, watermelon, tomatoes and cucumbers, and say hello to pumpkins, winter squash, citrus and dark leafy greens.

Fall is here, and that means it's time to begin using season-appropriate fruits and vegetables. As Houstonians we are fortunate, because there's a lot of great produce being grown on Texas farms. And now is the time to buy the bounty: sweet potatoes for your casserole, pears for your tart, and much more. With assistance from Urban Harvest Market managers Tyler Horne and Libby Kennedy and the Kirby Whole Foods Market's Andrew DeYoung and Charles Perez, we have created a guide to show you which produce will be in season this fall and when you can expect to buy it.

In the last week of September, expect to find a variety of apples. This year, Whole Foods Market will sell more than 25 different types of apples. DeYoung says the chain wanted to go big on the apples with exotic flavors, like the pink pearl - a small, vibrant specimen that tastes like a pink Sweet Tart. Other popular ones, such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith and Gala, will be available as well.

If you want pears, grab them now, because their season is almost over. Grocery stores and farmers markets alike are selling a variety of the versatile fruits, including Anjou, Bartlett, Asian and Red Crimson. Expect blood oranges in early November, and Meyer lemons closer to December.

Winter squash have a long shelf life, so even though they won't be in season much longer you can stock up on spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut squash for use in the coming months. Purchase creamer peas now and store them in the freezer to enjoy throughout the rest of fall and in the coming winter months. They will be available through October.

In October, expect to find lots of dark leafy greens, such as kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard, in your produce aisle. Kennedy says that people have started moving away from mustards and are seeking leafy greens with milder flavor. Collard greens are being harvested now, and in the coming weeks persimmons, kumquats and pomegranates will be ready to purchase. Broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cranberries and grapefruit should also be on your mind (and menus), because they will become available in late October.

Sweet potatoes are best now through November, so you can make your favorite sweet potato pie or casserole for your holiday meals.

And when you are at the table, remember to thank your local farmer.

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn