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Seasonal Produce Guide
When's the Best Month to Buy Fruits and Vegetables?

Explore the flavors of the seasons.
Explore the flavors of the seasons.

Growing up, certain meals stood out. Not because they were particularly elaborate or that the ingredients were exotic. The reason I remember them so many years later is because of how good everything tasted. When I think back, they shared something in common. All the ingredients were the freshest possible and in season.

In our globally connected world, you can get cherries in the winter, pumpkin in the spring and oranges throughout the entire year. But that convenience comes at a price. When something is out of season where you live, grocers have a couple ways to keep their shelves stocked.

One way is to import the produce from a country where the seasons are different. The middle of winter in the northern hemisphere is the middle of summer for the southern hemisphere. That means cherries from Chile, pumpkins from New Zealand and oranges from Argentina. However, the further away those foods are from your home, the more they cost in your supermarket.

Another way is to put things in cold storage. Apples typically ripen between August and September, but they’re sold all year long. To keep them looking good, apples are often treated with a gas called 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). That gas prevents apples from ripening by blocking the effects of ethylene, a colorless gas that drives the ripening process.

It’s not unusual for “fresh” apples to be 9-12 months old when you buy them. The longer they sit in storage, the more flavor diminishes. Weeks-old cherries can taste flat, and months-old apples can lose their crunch. The changes are subtle at first, but over time they can turn you off healthier choices.

Think of this as a guide to unlocking flavors while saving money on fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

These suggestions are for each month if you live in the United States. For countries in the southern hemisphere, you could start by shifting everything six months. Different types of guides are available at the end of this article. Post a copy beside where you keep your grocery list to inspire you.

A selection of seasonal produce from October.
A selection of seasonal produce from October.


JANUARY

Avocados, bananas, blood oranges, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, clementines, grapefruit, guava, kale, kiwi, leeks, lemons, mandarins, oranges, parsnips, pomegranates, rutabagas, tangelos, tangerines, turnips.


FEBRUARY

Avocados, bananas, blood oranges, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, clementines, grapefruit, guava, kale, kiwi, leeks, lemons, mandarins, oranges, parsnips, pomegranates, rutabagas, tangelos, turnips.


MARCH

Artichokes, avocados, bananas, blood oranges, broccoli, grapefruit, guava, leeks, lemons, lettuce, mandarins, mushrooms, parsnips, pineapples, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, turnips.


APRIL

Artichokes, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, guava, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, pineapples, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, spring peas.


MAY

Apricots, apriums, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, boysenberries, cherries, cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes, nectarines, okra, pineapples, plums, radishes, rhubarb, spring peas, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, watermelon, zucchini.


JUNE

Apricots, apriums, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, corn, cucumbers, figs, lettuce, mangoes, nectarines, okra, papayas, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, Swiss chard, watermelon, zucchini.


JULY

Apricots, avocados, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, corn, cucumbers, currants, eggplant, figs, green beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, mangoes, mulberries, nectarines, okra, papayas, peaches, peppers, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini.


AUGUST

Acorn squash, apples, apricots, Asian pears, avocados, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, butternut squash, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, currants, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, guava, honeydews, kohlrabi, lettuce, mangoes, mulberries, nectarines, okra, papayas, peaches, peppers, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini.


SEPTEMBER

Acorn squash, apples, Asian pears, avocados, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cranberries, currants, dates, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, guava, honeydews, kiwi, lettuce, mangoes, mushrooms, okra, papayas, peaches, peas, peppers, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, pumpkins, raspberries, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon.


OCTOBER

Acorn squash, apples, Asian pears, avocados, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, clementines, cranberries, dates, eggplant, grapes, guava, honeydews, kiwi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnips, peas, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, raspberries, rutabagas, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, winter squash.


NOVEMBER

Asian pears, avocados, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, clementines, cranberries, dates, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, leeks, lemons, mandarins, mushrooms, oranges, parsnips, pears, peas, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, raspberries, rutabagas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tangerines, turnips, winter squash.


DECEMBER

Avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, clementines, dates, grapefruit, guava, kale, kiwi, leeks, lemons, mandarins, mushrooms, oranges, parsnips, pears, pomegranates, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, tangelos, tangerines, turnips.


Sources: These are some of the sources for this data and other guides you might find more convenient to use.

The Budget Mom: https://www.thebudgetmom.com/when-to-buy-fruits-and-vegetables-a-month-by-month-guide/

Farmers Almanac: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/calendar/fruits-vegetables-season

Life Hacker: https://lifehacker.com/use-this-chart-to-determine-when-your-favorite-fruits-a-5921329

NutriNeat: https://nutrineat.com/fruits-vegetables-in-season-by-month

The Spruce Eats What's In Season: https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-s-in-season-calendar-1388661

USDA: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

When is the Season: https://www.whenistheseason.com/

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8/19/2021