What better way to celebrate the first leaves falling than to pack your shopping basket full of the freshest vegetables on offer.

Harvest is the best time of the year to take a look around the Northern Irish countryside and celebrate the excellent quality of vegetables growing on our green fields.

Leeks:

They’re from the same family as onions and garlic but have a much sweeter, milder flavour. Lyttle Leeks come to Tesco straight from the field in Newtownards.

Top tip: choose leeks with bright green tops. Trim the root and leaf tops before rinsing well to remove grit and soil.

Recipe suggestion: for a sophisticated twist on cheese on toast, soften half a sliced leek in Dale Farm butter. Stir in some crumbled Fivemiletown Ballyblue from local cheese maker Mike Thomson, then spoon on to a thick slice of Belfast Bap.

Carrots:

Carrots are by far the most popular root vegetable. We eat around 11,000 in their lifetime. Did you know that they were all purple up until the 1600s? The orange variety was developed in tribute to William I of Orange.

Top tip: Keep carrots in the fridge and you don’t actually need to peel them – just scrub well before use.

Recipe suggestion: Toss carrots in harissa paste to give them a spicy kick.

Parsnips: These creamy white roots are members of the carrot family but have a much stronger, sweeter taste. Parsnips love frosty weather – it actually helps their flavour rather than hindering it.

Top tip: Roast them or blitz them into mash but parsnips should always be cooked before eating.

Recipe suggestion: include parsnips in any winter soup mix to give it a creamy, sweet texture.