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Is Your Produce Out of Season?

It’s midsummer. You’re planning a picnic with your family and friends at the neighborhood park. You’ve been assigned to bring one of everyone’s favorite picnic dishes: potato salad. On a trip to the grocery store, you notice that while your market has stocked potatoes, they’re almost triple the normal price! At the register, the cashier reminds you that potatoes are not in season, causing the cost to rise significantly in the summer months.

Do you know what produce is in season when? And what do you do when your recipe calls for an out-of-season fruit or vegetable? If your favorite vegetable is out of season, it’s still possible to follow that recipe. Learning to choose the right produce guarantees you a fresh fridge year-round.

Use as many in-season fruits and vegetables as possible

To start, in-season produce just tastes better. You understand the significance of biting into a completely crisp and juicy grape. And grapes are at their best in the fall. Not only do they taste better, but they won’t break the bank when you buy a bag of them from the store. Due to the abundance, and therefore competition from other farms, of certain products during their peak seasons, farmers charge grocers much less when their produce is in season. In turn, you see a much cheaper price on the potatoes you need for your potato salad (or maybe mashed potatoes!) in fall and winter.

Depending on where you live, out-of-season produce can be accessible year-round. When writing your weekly grocery list, try planning meals around the best produce available at your local market. That way, you can ensure your family is receiving the freshest fruits and vegetables in their meals that the season can offer.

Assess your picks

When you just can’t stay away from tomatoes in the winter, you can purchase them. Be sure to thoroughly check your out-of-season produce before you buy. Be wary of rotten spots and dried out fruit. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be heavy, firm, and colorful.

What’s in season this fall/winter

Check the list below to see when popular produce is available. Availability can vary by region.

Spring

  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions

Summer

  • Melons
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes

Fall

  • Grapes
  • Potatoes
  • Squash

Winter

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Pears

Some fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apples, bananas, and lemons, are available year round and will be solid at relatively stable prices.