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Snag the last of the season’s bounty at the final local farmers markets

Boulder and Longmont wrap outdoor markets this weekend

Apples, pears and plums for sale at the Ela Family Farm stand at a local farmers market. ( Boulder County Farmers Markets)
Apples, pears and plums for sale at the Ela Family Farm stand at a local farmers market. ( Boulder County Farmers Markets)

Market happenings: The end of the local farmers market season has arrived, as this weekend marks the last outdoor farmers markets of the year in Boulder and Longmont. Boulder County Farmers Markets staff is filled with gratitude for the community’s support of its local farmers and we will miss your smiling faces each week.

However, there will be one more weekend after this one to buy local and fresh, be sure to save the date for the 13th annual Winter Market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7-8.

In season now:  Stock up and store all your favorite fall goodies well into the winter — there are apples, arugula, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery root, garlic, kale, leeks, mushrooms, pears, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, radishes, turnips and winter squash at the local markets.

Lots of this, please: Get your hands on everything that’s left, and be sure to store it well.

The farmer says: This week it’s all about buying in bulk and storing well. Over the fall months, we’ve offered different ways to store each ingredient of the week. Here are some more tips and tricks on storing or preserving the remainder of the harvest.

Apples, Pears and Plums

There is a little bit of fruit left to sntach up at the markets and certain apple varieties can be stored up to two months. First inspect apples and remove any with bruises. They can be stored in a cool garage in a cardboard box wrapped in a blanket or in a cooler. Place the box or cooler on the ground so there is extra warmth as temperatures dip. Pears and plums are best kept in the refrigerator, you can slow down the ripening process this way and store that fruit for up to a month.

Tomatoes (greenhouse)

The counter top is the best place to keep tomatoes. This will help keep their color, flavor and texture. Colorado’s Honeyacre vine-ripened its greenhouse tomatoes, so those should be enjoyed within five days of buying them. Take extra steps to preserve the local season over the winter by canning whole tomatoes with basil, freezing bulk tomato sauce, or drying them in the oven.


Keep varieties of mushrooms stored in a paper bag for up to a week. Be sure to hang on to the stems for stocks, broths, soups and gravies, as they are sure to add flavor. Even single layers of week-old mushrooms can be frozen or the same purpose. After you freeze the mushrooms flat in a single layer, they can be stored in a freezer bag without them sticking to each other. Ask Fort Collins’ Hazel Dell Mushrooms representatives at the markets about how to store each variety best.

Winter squash

Pumpkin, spaghetti, delicata, butternut, acorn and other varieties of winter squash can make it to an early spring as they will store two to three months out if they are stored in a consistent temperature of about 35 to 45 degrees. You can also puree your favorite squashes, then freeze that puree for pies, soups, chilis and pastas. Keep winter squash seeds for roasting and future snacking.

Hardy greens

Swiss chard, collards and spinach can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They will keep for a minimum of 10 days. Hardy greens are in stronger flavor than more tender greens and these can be blanched and frozen to store for about a year. On average, two pounds of spinach leaves yields one quart frozen spinach.


Store on the counter top and eat within three to four weeks of buying them. Or potatoes can be stored in a root cellar for up to several months. New or uncured potatoes have a shorter window of storage, and shouldn’t be stored for longer periods.

Storage onions

Yellow and white storage onions can be stored in an insulated, unheated garage and stored for several months.


Softneck varieties of garlic store longer, so be sure to eat the hardneck garlic before January. Store them at room temperature in a dark, dry place. Once the bulb is broken open, it will perish sooner.

Other root vegetables

In general, root vegetables — beets, kholrabi, turnips, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, radishes, parsnips and celeriac — can store for three to six weeks in the refrigerator, and longer in a storage cellar. If you purchase root vegetables that still have the greens, be sure to remove the greens before storage.

Depending on the varieties of carrots and radishes, they can store for months in the right conditions. When shopping at the last market, ask the farmers which types are best for storage. For example, the Chantenay carrot is an excellent storage variety, as well as winter radishes like Black Spanish, Daikon and watermelon. Fall radishes like Cherriette are best for eating within a week or two. For extra storage capacity, keep roots in a bucket of sand in an insulated, but unheated, garage or storage shed. The idea is to keep a consistent temperature of 35-45 degrees.

Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list.

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