Autumn is the season of apple orchards and pumpkin patches (and Instagrams from both locations, of course). It’s also the best time to pick up some of my favorite fruits and vegetables. What’s better than hitting the cider mill or walking through a farmer’s market for fresh produce? Especially when doing so puts off studying for midterms…

Here’s what to keep an eye out when you’re shopping for produce this fall season:

Brussels sprouts: look for hard, bright-green sprout heads; choose heads of roughly the same size so they’ll cook evenly.

Cauliflower: these are best when they have compact, tightly packed white florets.

Parsnips: pick small, firm parsnips and avoid ones that are limp or shriveled.

Pears: the best pears are firm with no soft spots or blemishes (then bake ’em for a sweet and tangy treat).

Apples: look for apples that feel firm, have smooth skin and are bruise-free (there are hundreds of apple varieties, with diverse colors, textures and flavors; chomp into a few different kinds and enjoy). Then, try this great apple crumble, sans crumble recipe.

Squash (butternut, acorn and spaghetti): look for a matte surface that is blemish-free; pick a heavy one.

Sweet potatoes: pick small-to-medium ones that have smooth and unbruised skin, and avoid cuts or stringy “dreads” (a sign that they are over-mature).