Bounty hunting

Searching for fresh, savoury ingredients? You don't have to look far.

As September rolls around and the summer winds down, a wonderfully colourful harvest of locally grown produce crops up across the country.

Shopping for local fruits and vegetables not only supports the growers, but because the produce is picked when ripe and delivered to your farmers' market or grocery store within days, it also can have an impact on your health. "Produce that is grown locally can be allowed more time to ripen on the plant, which typically leads to higher nutritional quality," says Sandra Saville, a registered dietitian based in the Toronto area. "The longer produce is stored or transported, the more time there is for nutrients to be lost."

Here are some delicious ideas to bring to your table.

Mouthwatering Maritimes

Try some savoury fall dishes such as a roasted beet and arugula salad with toasted pumpkin seeds or roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts with olive oil and garlic. To warm the soul, put on a pot of parsnip, carrot and potato soup with collard greens and serve with a warm apple pie.

Saucy Quebec

Melt one of Quebec's fine local cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert, into a creamy sauce and pour over roasted artichoke hearts, broccoli or rapini. Make a hearty pumpkin or squash soup, topped with grated cheddar and garlic croutons.

Fruit and vegetables

Sweet Ontario

Ontario offers an abundance of fall root vegetables such as beets, rutabaga and sweet potatoes, leafy greens such as chard and kale, as well as squash and cabbage. The province also grows amazing peaches, pears and apples. Peaches are nearing the end of their season in September, so be sure to sink your teeth into these gems and get those cobblers, coffee cakes and pies baking.

Earthy Prairies

The Prairie provinces have ideal conditions for growing legumes, grains for flours and seeds for oils. Their vast fields also produce delicious potatoes — whip up a mashed potato dish with goat cheese and chives. Try spaghetti squash instead of pasta noodles with your favourite tomato sauce and grated Parmesan for a great low-carb alternative.

Fresh Pacific

Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries can be found in September and are great for breakfast yogurt parfaits. Add berries to local salad greens and serve with fresh, grilled salmon.