Seasonal produce—which is grown and harvested the same season it’s purchased and consumed—is fresher, healthier (both for you and the planet!), and tastier. Even more so when it’s purchased locally. With that being said, I only have one question: What are you waiting for?
Fruits and vegetables picked and consumed at their peak ripeness have been found to be richer in vitamins and nutrients. Plus, there’s no need for weird preservatives when they’re coming straight from the farm. But eating seasonal food isn’t just better for your body. When buying seasonal produce locally, you also reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on the greenhouse gas emissions it requires to transport food over long distances.
There’s also a bigger, badder system at play that buying seasonal produce can help put an end to. Now, anyone can walk into their local grocery store and expect to see bananas and pineapples in the dead of winter, shipped from across the globe. This is all by way of monocropping, the process of growing the same crop year after year. It looks lucrative in the short-term, but crop diversity is necessary for soil health. In the long run, it’s an exploitative process that’s doing much more harm than good.
The best way to support local farms, avoid monocropping, and get the most nutrient-dense produce is to shop seasonally at farmer’s markets. You can find one wherever you are through a quick Google search, whether it’s located on a blocked-off city street or at a park. My favorite market, for instance, is set up in an old mill.
Ready to bring your pup, a reusable bag, and your resolve to bargain? Here’s your go-to guide for when all your favorite fruits and vegetables are in season, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Veggies: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, garlic, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, swiss chard, turnips
Fruit: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, kiwi, lemons, limes, pineapples, strawberries
Veggies: beets, bell peppers, carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, lima beans, okra, summer squash, tomatoes, zucchini
Fruit: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew melon, lemons, limes, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
Veggies: beets, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, garlic, ginger, green beans, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, winter squash
Fruit: apples, bananas, cranberries, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, pears, pineapples, raspberries
Veggies: beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, winter squash
Fruit: apples, avocados, bananas, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, oranges, pears, pineapples