You may not think you need an in season food guide, but after today, you’ll wonder how you lived so long without one.
You’ve likely heard that you should eat seasonal, locally-grown produce whenever possible, and you’re probably totally on board with those goals.
But the harder task is keeping up with the seasons and knowing when your favorite foods are at their peak when you’re already so busy.
That’s why we’re sharing everything you need to know about eating more in-season food the easy way. You’ll also learn where to find delicious, farm-fresh produce near you.
So let’s kick things off with why this way of menu-planning is so beneficial.
Why Bother Eating Seasonally?
From bolder, fresher flavors to upping the nutrient density of your food, enjoying produce during its peak season means you’ll have a better tasting and better-for-you version.
You’ll also savor these yummy perks at a fraction of what they cost out-of-season.
Since in-season produce grows in abundance, farmers often lower their prices and push to sell all their goods before the season ends.
Local farms may be even more affordable since farmers don’t have to pay for their produce to travel long distances to market.
So following an in-season food guide will help you save money while delivering an added burst of flavor and nutrients to every meal.
What’s the Best Way to Eat Seasonally?
Heading out to a local farm is the best way to shop both locally and seasonally. Your local farmers have done the heavy lifting for you (literally and figuratively). They usually have plenty of in-season produce on hand to choose from.
Check your local farmer’s market if you can’t make it out to a farm. These are a much more convenient option that still gives you the fresh, in-season produce you’re searching for.
In Season Food Guide Part 1: How to Find Seasonal Foods in Your Local Area
So how do you know what foods are in season near you?
This handy tool helps you find seasonal produce local to your specific area. These food wizards also have an app you can download to make this task a piece of cake.
Just plug in your state and the month, and it’ll show you which produce is at its peak freshness during that time. It’s the quickest way to see what’s in season in your local area, making meal-planning fun and easy.
Another option is to check your state’s department of agriculture website. Some states offer helpful charts to highlight when seasonal produce is available throughout the year:
Run a quick search to see if your state’s department of agriculture does this, then take a few screenshots of your favorite foods, so you always know when to scoop them up.
In Season Food Guide Part 2: A Quick Cheat Sheet
If you don’t feel like going through the effort of finding local seasonal produce, you can always use these quick cheat sheets as a guide. You’ll find charts below for foods typically harvested during the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
You can use those charts as a starting point to see what produce might be in-season at any given time. The only downside to this route is that those crops may not be in season for your area.
But there are three good ways to check what’s in-season versus out-of-season around you.
First, use the right seasonal foods list above while you shop. You’ll need this to evaluate your options. Then look for:
Abundance versus scarcity. If the chart says berries are in season, but you don’t see many at the market, that’s your first red flag. In-season produce should be piled high and available no matter where you shop.
Healthy, fresh produce. When crops have to travel great distances from where they’re grown and harvested, they look a little tired. In-season produce is glowing from the inside out. Peak in-season goods often have shinier leaves, firmer skins, brighter colors, and smell like the garden.
Price. As we mentioned earlier, in-season produce is usually priced lower than fruits and veggies that have to be flown in from farms across the country. If berries are on the high end, going back to our example, they’re probably not local or in-season for you.
These three factors will help you navigate the market like a pro.
In Season Food Guide Part 3: Time To Get Inspired
You now have a few easy ways to figure out what’s in season for your area, which means you can eat seasonally and locally without much effort. Let the food around you inspire healthier meals from here on out.
You’ll notice your food tastes much better and won’t be nearly as expensive.
Discover more in-season food today, and thank us later!
Author: Devan Ciccarelli