I remember the stories my grandma used to tell me about my grandfather buying seasonal produce from local warehouses and making biweekly trips in his pickup truck to Presidio, Texas, selling the produce along the way. In the summer, he bought the sweetest cantaloupes and watermelons and the spiciest chile peppers and then turned around and sold them to warehouses in El Paso and in our family’s grocery store. It’s interesting how life has come full circle.
Back then, it used to be that people ate certain foods only when they were in season; nowadays it’s difficult to know what’s in season because more often than not, you can find a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round at your local supermarket. Modern food processing and worldwide distribution make foods available year-round, and supermarket shelves in December can sometimes look similar to how they look in July.
Summer is coming to a close, which means its time to visit your local farmers market or local market, support your local farmers and come home with fresh summer fruits and vegetables. Have you ever purchased strawberries in the winter in the supermarket and they were sour? It’s probably because they weren’t in season. Grapes in March? Asparagus in October? They are available nowadays even if it has to be shipped thousands of miles to get to your supermarket.
Nutrients in fruits and vegetables begin to break down as soon as they are picked. This is why it’s so important to eat produce in season. One of the biggest reasons why you should buy seasonal produce is because it’s full of antioxidants that are so good for you. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which keep you young and keep diseases at bay. Purchasing fruits and vegetables in season is a great way to eat healthy and save money. You’ll be rewarded with high-quality produce, packed with nutrition, and at a lower cost.
It’s up to us to move back to the old approach and support local farmers and local markets. Our ancestors ate seasonally because there was no choice.
Seasonal produce varies according to geographic region. For a detailed seasonal ingredient map click here. Below is a seasonal list of the peak times for popular produce to help you make shopping simpler.
Vegetables: Summer squash, basil, bell peppers, corn, romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, sugar snap peas
Fruits: Strawberries, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, watermelon
Vegetables: Beets,broccoli, carrots, chili peppers, corn, pumpkin, green beans, potatoes, mushrooms
Fruits: Apples, grapes, plums, bananas, cherries, cranberries, pears, apricots, cantaloupe
Vegetables: Winter squash, chili peppers, brussels sprouts, ginger, cauliflower, cabbage
Fruits: Grapes, lemons, limes, navel oranges, grapefruit, bananas
Vegetables: Asparagus, avocados, cabbage, chili peppers, cucumbers, green beans, green onions, leeks, mushrooms
Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, bananas, cantaloupe, mangos, pineapple, apricots, blueberries, papaya