What’s In Season?
In the winter months, you might find yourself growing a little bored with the color of the produce section of the grocery store or farmer’s markets. Beige, brown, and orange seem to be the only hues on the color wheel gracing the shelves. If there are any blues, reds, or greens, they tend to be pretty pricey and look a little beat up.
Then April rolls around, and specs of green and red pop up from beans, lettuce – and rhubarb if you’re lucky. As summer approaches, you can find an entire rainbow of produce at the market. And there’s a reason those strawberries look better now than they did back in early April.
Why buy produce that’s in season?
When you buy produce that’s in season, you’re buying it at its peak. It has a higher content of vitamins, nutrients, and taste!
When food is not in season, it’s much more likely that it’s being shipped from thousands of miles away, or even from another country. This means there’s more time from the day that strawberry was picked until the day it gets placed on the markets’ shelves. The sooner a fruit or vegetable is eaten after picked or harvested, the fresher it is.
Additionally, it costs less to buy seasonally. Just like any other good, it costs money to ship produce across the country. On the same token, by buying fruits and veggies that are in season, you’ll be doing the environment a favor! Reduce your carbon footprint by buying fruits and vegetables tht are in season.
Aside from being pricy, it also takes a lot of travel and gas to ship produce that’s not in season from other countries, where it is in season, into the US.
So, what’s in season now?
Vegetables: asparagus, beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, spinach, bell pepper, garlic, eggplant, onions, zucchini, arugula, and radishes
Fruits: blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, apricots, tomatoes, melons, pineapple
Consciously buying fruits and vegetables that are in season can expand your taste buds as well as your pocketbook. Try joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for access to seasonal, local produce from a farmer in your community.
When you sign up for a CSA, you’re buying a “share” from a farmer. This share typically consists of a box or bundle seasonal fruits and veggies weekly or biweekly throughout that harvest season. That means the transit time from the ground to your plate is minimal.
And CSA’s aren’t limited to produce; most farmers offer options of meat, dairy, eggs, and more in their CSA’s. Some CSA’s allow the customer to come to them and pick out their goods, while other farms package it up for the consumer and deliver it to their door.
CSA’s are a great way to try local, seasonal produce that you would normally never think of buying in the grocery store. Additionally, you’re eating produce at its freshest point in the lifecycle, helping out the environment, and supporting local farmers.
To find a CSA near you, visit localharvest.org/csa