The end of October marks the close of many farmers markets around the country. In the regions where fall is in full string and winter is showing signs of being on its way, the growing season is just about over. Many people don’t have access to farmers markets that are open year round.

We can’t extend the farmers market season, but for those of us who appreciate eating local foods and supporting our small farmers, we can buy wisely and spend some extra money in the last weeks they are open. In addition to extending the time we’ll be able to eat local foods, our purchases will give the local farmers a little extra money to help them through the lean months.

Here are some ideas:

  • Buy a whole bunch of apples and make applesauce to can or freeze. Here's an easy recipe for applesauce done in the slow cooker that freezes well.
  • Buy a few bunches of broccoli or a favorite vegetable that your family likes, blanch it, and freeze for a holiday dinner or any old time.
  • Stock up on potatoes, garlic and onions — all root vegetables that will keep for a while. To extend their life, store them in as cool a place as possible where moisture won't get trapped (but not in the refrigerator).
  • Buy enough local honey to get you through the winter.
  • Buy a few weeks' worth of eggs instead of just the amount you would buy for one week.
  • If your market has a meat vendor, buy as much as you can afford and your freezer will hold.
  • Buy pumpkins, store for a few weeks, and make your Thanksgiving pumpkin pies from them.
  • Properly stored cheese will keep for weeks. If you're entertaining for the holidays, buy a block or two for your cheese tray.
Take a little extra money, then take a look around the farmers market before it closes and see what you can afford and what you can store. Don't forget to take extra reusable bags!

Any other ideas? Put them in the comments. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Make the most of the farmers market's last week
Creative buying and storing can extend your enjoyment of local foods after the farmers market closes.