The Kitsap year has two seasons: pantry and farmers market! By May all the farmers markets are open around the county. The last market closes in December.
What’s in season
October is a transitional month, starting out warm and sunny and ending cool and rainy, bridging summer and fall.
Winter squash is the quintessential fall food. Beautiful still-lifes of colorful squash pile the farm tables. These can be stored in the root cellar or pantry – just separate them and turn them once a week, process the ones that begin to become soft.
Cows which calved in the fall will give winter milk which will still be available. However, at this time of year chickens tend to lay fewer eggs so these are less readily available. If you keep chickens yourself adding a light to the chicken coop will keep them laying longer.
Meat chicken flocks will be processed now and won’t be available again until spring, so if chicken comes by in the farmers market or farm store, grab the birds now to stock up the freezer. Beef and pig will also be available as farmers finish growing them and cut back on the size of the herds they will bring through winter.
The soft fruits are done – hopefully you canned or froze some while the getting was good! Pears are still on. Mid and late season apples are now available, and the harder storage varieties can be individually wrapped in newspaper for storage in the pantry or root cellar for the winter. Any fruit too soft to store long-term can be made into butter or sauce and put up in a water bath.
This is when the root vegetables come into their own. Onions, potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, are all still available.
Cabbage still shows up in the market. Stubby stalks of brussels sprouts also begin to show up – if these are harvested after the first frost they are much sweeter.
Savvy farmers planted winter lettuce for harvest at this time. Fall-planted kale is just coming in. Hardy Asian greens are also available.
Some farmers may still have corn, tomatoes and cucumbers, especially if they’re coming from Eastern Washington, but these usually disappear by the end of the month.
- Soups and stews: time to break out the soup and crock pot! Squash soup is a fall staple.
- Mains: baked chicken, baked pork, broiled beef, roasted root vegetables, rice and leftovers.
- Starches: rice, smashed potatoes.
- Vegetables: roasted root vegetables, shredded braised cabbage, braised greens.
- Salads: fresh greens with vinaigrette, coleslaw.
- Desserts: pumpkin pie, poached pears.