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When to Buy Seasonal Produce: A Complete Guide

Believe it or not, eating produce when it’s in season is actually incredibly beneficial for your health. According to the Chicago Tribune, seasonal produce, eating seasonal produce is actually helpful in terms of your body’s needs due to the current climate. For example, eating produce with higher water content (and more carbohydrates) in the summer makes sense, since it’s so hot out and people want more energy. While in the winter, we want to bunker down and chow down on a steaming bowl of chili with some sweet potatoes and hearty vegetables.

Seasonal produce at a farmers market.

Eating produce in its rightful season also means getting the most nutrients out of that item at the moment. This theory is known as seasonal eating, meaning that the produce will provide our bodies with exactly what they need most in that season of the year. This Heathline article states that “consuming fruits and vegetables at the time of nature gives them to us, our bodies benefit by becoming stronger, healthier, and happier.” 

Now I admit, I’m not perfect at this, because I do love eating Brussels sprouts all year round. But I do find produce to taste better when buying it in the proper season. Plus, in-season produce tends to be cheaper, making it even more appealing to eat produce in season.


The best indicator for knowing what produce is in season is taking a trip to your local farmer’s market. The produce at the market is not only in season, but also reflective of what is being grown in your area. For example, I rarely see bananas at farmer’s markets because they typically aren’t grown in New York, Connecticut, or other surrounding states that come to the markets in Brooklyn.

I compiled the below seasonal produce list using the data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). I split them up into categories—fruits and vegetables—so you know exactly where to look in whatever season you’re currently in.


Spring

Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Kiwifruit, Lemons, Limes, Pineapples, Strawberries

Vegetables: Asparagus. Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Collard Greens, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions. Peas, Radishes,  Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnips


Summer


Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Honeydew Melon, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Peaches, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon

Vegetables: Beets, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Lima Beans, Summer Squash, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Zucchini


Fall 

Fruit: Apples, Bananas, Cranberries, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Lemons, Limes, Mangos, Pears, Pineapples, Pumpkin, Raspberries

Vegetables: Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collard Greens, Garlic, Ginger, Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Yams, Winter Squash


Winter

Fruit: Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Grapefruit, Kiwifruit, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Pears, Pineapples, Pumpkin

Vegetables: Beets, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Collard Greens, Kale, Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Rutabagas, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Yams, Winter Squash


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