Even though it’s officially autumn, there is still plenty of time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets.

Even though it’s officially autumn, there is still plenty of time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets.


"This is the true harvest season, right now," said Karen Biagini, manager of the Marshfield, Mass., farmers market.


Her market, sponsored by the Marshfield Agricultural and Horticultural Society, currently features late-summer crops such as eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. As summer turns to fall, vendors will start bringing in more apples, squash and pumpkins, Biagini said.


Farmers markets showcase food grown and produced locally, but you shouldn't necessarily take vendors' claims about their local and organic items at face value. Martha Sweet, operations manager at the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, said consumers should take with each farmer at a given market. Ask when the produce was picked, where it was grown and if the farmer grew it himself, she said. If the answer seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Sweet said consumers should be suspicious of any farmer who claims to produce exotic fruits and vegetables locally.


At the Marshfield market, vendors are not required to sell organic produce, though most do. Each vendor's farming techniques are clearly labeled, Biagini said.


"That might not be something that's important to everybody, but this way, you have a choice," she said.


Alex Spanko may be reached at aspanko@ledger.com.