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Shopping by Season at Your Local Farmer’s Market

June 5th, 2009

farmers-market-seasonWith so many people going green and looking for locally grown, organic food options, farmer’s markets are becoming more popular. But with so many options for fresh fruits and vegetables, it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing produce. Knowing what’s in season is a useful tool for deciding what will taste great on your dinner plate.


Spring

As winter gives way to spring, leaves of all sorts begin to turn green. Most notably, leafy green vegetables are ready for picking. Lettuce, spinach, chard, and other greens are featured this season. Artichokes and asparagus are also at their best during the spring months. Spring is a wonderful time for herbs and garnishes. Fennel, garlic, mint, parsley, and green onion are prominent during these months.

When it comes to fruit, citrus is highlighted during the spring. In the early spring, you can still find quality oranges; but as the season wears on, lemons and grapefruit come to the forefront.

Summer

Summer brings with it vacations, baseball season, and hot weather. It also brings lots of great fresh fruits. Stone fruits like peaches, apricots, and cherries are popular during the summer months. They generally start to appear near the end of May and will get sweeter into June and July. You can also find different types of berries this time of year. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are wonderful in fruit pies or mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese as a snack. The warmer months are often the best time for melons like mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

Not to be outdone, there are plenty of vegetables that make their appearance during the summer months. Corn and tomatoes ripen best in the warm weather as do different types of squashes like zucchini and the aptly named summer squash. Roots and tubers are also at their best during the summer — potatoes, beets, onions, and radishes flourish this time of year.

Fall

As the leaves begin to turn, apples make their first in-season appearance. They are joined by other tree fruit like figs, pears, and pomegranates. The early part of fall marks the end of grape season, but cranberries begin to appear later in the fall.

Gourds and root vegetables are among the vegetables that are prominent during the autumn months. Pumpkins, squashes, beets, and carrots are very popular this time of year. Celery, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts do very well in the fall as well.

Winter

Winter brings more of the same as the fall. Tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes are available. More root vegetables like turnips and rutabagas are on display as well. Cabbage, endive, and broccoli are still readily available.

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit begin to sweeten in the winter as do kiwi, persimmons, and pomelos. Later in the season, kumquats also become prominent.

If you’re looking for more ideas, don’t hesitate to ask your local farmers. They can tell you what is in season and will normally have good ideas on how to prepare it. Good luck and happy shopping!


Marcas Grant is a freelance writer at Constant Content who has produced a total of six articles and three sales.


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