Autumn season yields healthy produce for easy, inexpensive fall recipes

The pleasures of fall are not limited to warm tones as foliage-savory produce is also at the heart of this vibrant season. Geneseo is located in what would be considered farm country. A haven for locavores, the campus eateries, local grocery stores and Main Street's farmers market are bustling with activity for the start of the season.

Foods now locally available include apples, pears, pumpkins, nuts, squash, grapes, beets and sweet potatoes.

Students can purchase them whole from Wegmans, Fusion Market, Red Jacket Dining Hall or on Thursday afternoons at the Geneseo Farmers Market. Another option is enjoying the campus' many variations of fall flavors, such as Mary Jemison's butternut squash wheatberry salad.

Cory Hancock, the health and nutrition coordinator for Campus Auxiliary Services, said shopping locally is “a lot of nutrition for your dollar.” She said buying seasonally and locally is also healthier because foods do not have hours of transportation to lose their flavor and nutrients.

This season's produce is not only readily available but also incredibly easy to work with.  With very long shelf life - an acorn squash can last several months at room temperature - and a high stock of nutrients such as vitamin A, students have nothing to lose from buying these seasonal local foods.

Hancock as well as senior Julia Andalora, a contributor to the weekly farmers market, recommend a simple spaghetti squash recipe that anyone can try.

Simply poke holes in the squash with a fork then put it whole into the oven for an hour at 375 degrees. Remove and let it cool for 20 minutes, and eat the spaghetti shaped insides as a more flavorful and gluten free substitute for pasta.

Another easy recipe from Hancock is a pumpkin smoothie, which can be made by blending canned pumpkin, any type of milk, cinnamon and pumpkin spice in a blender.

These simple recipes can be a relief for students torn between a complicated dinner plan and MJ Late Night because they provide low maintenance options with high rewards.

As Hancock said, “Eating according to seasons is one of the small, simple pleasures of life that connects us all to nature.”