Leaves are turning bright colors. Bronze and gold chrysanthemums are lining front porches. And Thanksgiving tables will soon groan with turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, and pumpkin pie.

When preparing for your Thanksgiving feast, remember to purchase your fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, wine and flowers at your local farmers market. The market has everything you need to impress family and friends at the dining table.

There's everything from cheeses at Achadinha Cheese Company, artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Bistro Blends, winter squash and pumpkins at Bautista Ranch, sweet potatoes and onions at Halog Farms, crisp apples and apple cider at Rainbow Orchards, and of course, wonderful local wines at Sterling Albert Winery.

There are gorgeous bouquets of fresh-cut fall flowers and seasonal wreaths from Sunrise Nursery, Ochoa Flowers and P&E Growers. There are fresh-baked goods, hot foods, farm fresh eggs and even someone from Edgemaster to sharpen your carving knives!

And please, let's not forget those who are less fortunate, especially in these continuing tough economic times. Not everyone can sit down to a table laden with all the Thanksgiving fixings.

Hunger is prevalent in every community in the nation and at all seasons of the year. Please donate generously to your local food bank and give those in need a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't forget to give thanks to the hardworking farmers and producers who bring you this amazing Autumn harvest. Have a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving.


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Brussels sprouts are especially good right now. Try this tasty and simple recipe to impress your guests.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Pancetta

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds Brussels sprouts (trimmed, halved)

6 ounces pancetta (thinly sliced, chopped)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush heavy, large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Place 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl; mix in Brussels sprouts, pancetta and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spread mixture in single layer on prepared sheet. Roast until Brussels sprouts are tender and brown, stirring often, about 20 minutes. (Can be made three hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Drizzle Brussels sprouts with vinegar; sprinkle with thyme. Stir to coat.

Return to 450-degree oven; roast until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl; serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Farmers markets are open rain or shine.

Danville Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays year-round, Railroad and Prospect avenues.

Pleasanton Farmers Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m. -1 p.m. year-round.Main and W. Angela streets.

San Ramon Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays year-round, Bishop Ranch 2 parking lot, Bollinger Canyon Road and Sunset Drive.

The Time is Ripe is a monthly column written by Vince Scalise, market operations manager, and Debra Morris, promotions coordinator, for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association. Contact them at mrcarrot@pcfma.com.