Spring is here and you’ve probably noticed farmers’ markets popping up near you, offering the wonderful variety of veggies and fruits in season. From fresh rhubarb for pie to avocados used for homemade guacamole, there’s a wide breadth of seasonal produce available. Use this guide to find out what’s in season near you!
The Best Produce (By Region)
While there isn’t an overabundance of spring fruit available in the Midwest, you’ll still find plenty of root vegetables in season now.
Asparagus, beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes and salad greens are very popular in the Midwest. Look for vibrant colors in all vegetables, or look for “salad kits” that assemble everything you need for the perfect salad. Later in the season, check back for things like sweet corn and seasonal apples.
Spring in the Northeast is similar to spring in the Midwest when it comes to produce — it’s all about the root vegetables. Look for vibrant colors and vegetable firmness. When you’re in the Northwest, enjoy fennel, radishes, potatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, cabbage, rhubarb, strawberries and more.
Selecting rhubarb can be tricky. Avoid choosing stalks that have blemishes or split ends. Look for small leaves on the plant, but trim them before using, as the leaves can be toxic.
The Southwest growing season chugs along all year long. Mild winters allow for the harvest of cool weather crops and hot summers are good for growing citrus fruits, chilies and dates.
Spring means that avocados are in abundance. Choose the perfect avocado by giving it a little squeeze. A ripe avocado should yield to firm, gentle pressure, but shouldn’t feel overly soft or mushy. Also popular this time of year are apricots, arugula, corn, celery, figs, eggplants, grapefruit, leeks, nectarines and lemons.
Spring in the south is plentiful and full of traditional Southern favorites like collards, okra and sweet potatoes. In the far south, the climate can be warm enough that growing seasons almost flip-flop with the rest of the country, and the height of the summer months can mean there’s little at the market besides okra — everything having given up in the heat.
Spring is a bountiful and beautiful time in the Northeast. You’ll find plenty of spring root veggies in addition to leafy greens. This region usually experiences a later harvest, a shorter growing season, and a longer harvest of cool-weather crops when compared to the rest of the country.
3 Tips for Buying Seasonal Produce
- Shop at farmers’ markets
Take a stroll through your local farmers’ market and see what’s in season. The selection will evolve throughout the season: sweet corn can usually be found in early July, while you may find apples and pumpkins in September. Pay attention to seasonal selection and enjoy the best produce your region has to offer!
- Widen your culinary horizon
New to cooking with kale? Never tasted mustard greens? Give them a try when they come in season in your area. Eating seasonally can make you a more creative cook by encouraging you to experiment with some of those exotic-sounding and sometimes weird-looking veggies. Not sure where to start? Ask the vendor for their favorite recipe or tip for cooking with the produce.
- Enjoy non-local produce while it’s in-season
Don’t live in subtropical Florida or Southern California? You can still have your bananas and mangoes, just get into the habit of enjoying them when they’re in-season.
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