No one likes to get pushed around. Some­how, the early retail pres­ence of all things Thanks­giv­ing, Christ­mas and Hanukkah in Octo­ber feels like we are get­ting nudged. Stop the push­ing.

In the orbit of fresh pro­duce, we take our cues from truly sea­sonal veg­eta­bles and fruits.

Import pur­chases make eat­ing avo­ca­dos, corn and toma­toes a year-​round culi­nary pos­si­bil­ity. There are still a few Amer­i­can grown items that com­pletely set a tone for “here today, gone tomor­row” enjoy­ment. Fresh cran­ber­ries are indeed a sea­sonal har­bin­ger.

Native to North Amer­ica, cran­ber­ries are a pow­er­house of nutri­tion with sub­stan­tial health ben­e­fits. Antioxidant-​rich, they hold the magic for a mul­ti­tude of con­di­tions from pre­ven­tion to rem­edy.

This fall fruit dar­ling is har­vested begin­ning in Sep­tem­ber and goes through mid-​November in states like Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and Michi­gan. Wis­con­sin and Mass­a­chu­setts are the two largest pro­duc­ers in the United States.

Cran­ber­ries grow on low-​lying vines in imper­me­able beds lay­ered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds are known as “bogs” or “marshes” and were orig­i­nally cre­ated by glacial deposits.

Com­mer­cial bogs use a sys­tem of wet­lands, uplands, ditches, flumes, ponds and other water bod­ies that pro­vide a nat­ural habi­tat for a vari­ety of plant and ani­mal life.

Most cran­ber­ries are wet har­vested when grow­ers flood their bogs. They then use har­vest­ing machines that loosen the cran­ber­ries from the vines. Air cham­bers in the cranberry’s cen­ter allows it to float to the water’s sur­face. The berries are then cor­ralled and trans­ferred to a truck for transporting.

Let’s go back to the arrival of fresh cran­ber­ries in the mar­ket­place. There doesn’t have to be an implicit hol­i­day only ingre­di­ent mind­set. Cran­ber­ries have a far­ther reach than the single-​note rel­ish dish on the Thanks­giv­ing table.

Inher­ently tart, they give a lift to every­thing from craft cock­tails to sweet desserts and baked goods. Sides, sal­ads, entrees and appe­tiz­ers perk up the plate when cran­ber­ries are intro­duced. Zesty, refresh­ing and vibrant in color define this fall item.

Greet cran­ber­ries (avail­able now), with delight. They bring pre-​holiday mer­ri­ment to the kitchen and bar. Keep them on hand, refrig­er­ated, from now until they’re gone. Toss a few bags into the freezer. Pre­serve and serve.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.