Winter's coming, but you can still buy fresh vegetables locally

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It's really hard for me say goodbye to summer. I always do it late - like, around Nov. 1 late. I love farmers market season, fresh tomatoes, verdant herbs and late-evening sunsets, and I try to hang on to that feeling for as long as I possibly can.

Now that Halloween is over and the world seems to be pushing us straight ahead into the holiday season, I have come to accept that harvest season is behind us. My CSA is done; I'm waiting on half a pig that will take us through the winter.

It's easy to assume that the end of farmers market season is the end of fresh local produce. But that's just plain wrong. Many communities are extending the market season with select winter markets. This is actually a really good time for vegetables - the kind you can store in a cool, dry place through the winter.

What's in season right now? Quite a bit: If you visit one of the fall/winter farmers markets listed here, you'll likely find potatoes, multiple varieties of squash, onions, celeriac, peppers, eggplant, some late-season tomatoes, radishes, salad greens, turnips, garlic and more.

I plan to buy some interesting veg and serve them up as Thanksgiving crudit s. Resplendent raw veggies are very in right now, and they're a great first course for a holiday that's all about stuffing yourself (oh, and giving thanks). If you want to serve this with additional oohs and aahs, arrange your veggies on a bed of ice. So very 2016.

Thanksgiving Crudit s with tarragon-thyme vinaigrette

This is a great and simple way to put something healthy on the table, cleanse palates and inspire your guests to try unconventional veggies. I used celeriac and radishes for this, but you could go traditional with carrots, peppers, or even raw kale.

During the spring I made pretty, pink chive blossom vinegar by soaking chive blossoms in white vinegar for a week or two, which came in handy for this herby dressing. If you don't have a fancy vinegar, regular old red wine or apple cider vinegar will work just fine.

Ingredients:

About 1 lb of farm-fresh veggies, cleaned, peeled and sliced (slice thin with a mandolin or make veggie sticks for dipping)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup vinegar

cup fresh tarragon and thyme (you want a lot; pack it down in your measuring cup)

1 shallot or small onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add olive oil, vinegar, tarragon, thyme, onion, salt and pepper to food processor and pulse until you have a dressing with the consistency of pesto (or any very herby salad dressing).

Assemble veggies on a platter - or if you're planning to serve on a bed of ice, use a shallow bowl or dish to control ice melt. Pour dressing into a serving dish that has enough room for dipping and spooning out dressing; serve. Eat a LOT of Thanksgiving food later and feel great about it.

Go shopping

Where you can go to still buy fresh vegetables

Before you plan your next holiday meal, stop by one of the many Winter farmers markets in the Berkshires

and vermont still open throughout the season

- Berkshire Grown Holiday Markets:

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 19, Dec. 17, Jan. 14 and Feb. 18 at Monument Valley Middle School, Great Barrington, Mass.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18 at Williams College Towne Field House,

Williamstown, Mass.

- North Adams Winter Farmers Markets:

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at 87 Main St., North Adams, Mass.

 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 7, Feb. 4, March 4, April 1, May 6 at the

North Adams American Legion

- Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market

 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monthly indoor markets begin Sat., Nov. 12 at Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires

- Florida Mountain Turnips

Not a market, but a wild card that bears mentioning. Order the turnips grown on Florida Mountain by visiting Facebook.com/Florida-Mountain-Turnip.

- Bennington Farmers Markets:

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 19, Dec. 3, and 17 inside at the First Baptist Church, 600 Main St.,

Bennington, Vt.

- Brattleboro Winter Famers Markets:

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every

Saturday now through March

25, 2017 at the River Garden located at 157

Main St., Brattleboro, Vt.


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