Fruits and Vegetables in Season

colorful mix of seasonal vegetables (mainly winter vegetables)

Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables reduces your ecological footprint and can save money. However we often don’t know what fruit is in season now. Everything needs to be always available in the stores. We lose our sense for seasonality. We are victims to unsustainable luxury. In this article we offer an overview of fruits and vegetables in season for every month. Area: USA.

Face made of seasonal fruits of summer: peaches as eyes with mulberry-eyebrows, apricot-nose and raspberry-mouth
What would fruit guy buy?

What Fruits and Vegetables are in Season Now?

There are already a lot of lists, charts, tables and other fancy illustrations out there that tell which produce is available in what month. You can get lists for every state and every month at sustainabletable.org. They have a very comprehensive database of produce currently in harvest season that we absolutely recommend.

The portal fieldtoplate.com has a different approach: Presenting links to governmental institutions and other initiatives for every state. You get information about seasonal produce at first hand.

So why did we create another site about fruits and vegetables in season when there is already a wealth of web resources out there?

Seasonality charts are not always viable

If you can fully stick with your local solution for seasonal fruits and seasonal vegetables, that’s actually the best you can do. But are you satisfied with a chart that offers no winter fruits or winter vegetables at all? I.e. according to the Conneticut Department of Agriculture there are no seasonal fruits or vegetables from January through March. A very hard starvation diet 😉

Obviously, you want a healthy, well balanced diet throughout the whole year. So you probably also desire a set of second best solutions: fruits and vegetables that are not currently widely produced, but still as ecological as possible.

Some produce has a long shelf life like potatoes or apples. Others can be imported from southern states like Florida or California. It’s still better than importing from the southern hemisphere out of season.

So, would you like to have a seasonal shopping guide that tells you for every month what’s currently best to buy? With a well-balanced comprise between seasonality and a varied and healthy diet?

Our compromise: The seasonality scale

Image of spinach with seasonality bars for each month of the year
The bars quickly signal the produce’s availability across the US for each month of the year

We have used the data published on sustainabletable.org to create a simple percentage value. It is high for fruits and vegetables currently in harvest season and gets lower the more out of season they are in the U.S.

The value is 100% when the production is at it’s peak AND the item is produced in at least half of all U.S. states. If the item is never produced in at least 25 states at a time, the value never reaches 100%.

Example: Oranges have a peak value of 32% in December and January. Only 8 states produce them. 8 / 25 equals 32%. Strawberries (best of all spring fruits 🙂 ) are produced in 43 states. Since that’s more than 25, the value is 100% during peak production in June.

Storability matters

To account for produce that can have a long shelf life time, we increase the value further near the end of the season. Values are closer to the previous month then. So “fruits and vegetables in season” can also mean “including reasonable shelf life time after harvest season”.

However, the best thing you can do is simply shop at your local farmers’ market and see what they’ve got – as long as it is produced by themselves under sustainable conditions. So ask the people if you are insecure.

If you don’t have an easy opportunity to visit a farmers’ market, you can directly fast forward to the fruits and vegetables in season now for the current month if you wish.

A diverse collection

Eating seasonal vegetables the whole year through is easily possible, whereas for seasonal fruits it’s a bit harder. Winter vegetables are plenty with collards and cabbage variants, turnips, carrots, fennel, potatoes, onions, mushrooms and some others.

Winter fruits are rare. There are mostly citrus fruits and apples or pears. So we don’t mind if you pick some exotic fruits once or twice a week during the winter that came from California or Florida. We don’t cover these in our seasonal fruits and vegetables overview.

Our top-pick approach

Nevertheless we picked our top ten fruits and vegetables in season for every month (even if there are more than ten seasonal fruits and seasonal vegetables available). And we tried to vary between the months as much as reasonably possible.

Almost no produce on our list appears in more than 4 months during the year. Many only in 1 to 3 months. Even if it is available in other months not listed, we bring you to increase the diversification on your plate and still keep the lists simple.

We believe that if you stick to these tables, you will have the best trade-off solution for seasonal plus varied eating available on the net. If you think otherwise, please comment this article and tell us what is missing in your opinion. We always like to improve our content.

Nutritional Values

Infographic for spinach showing seasonality, macro and micro nutrient values
An example for very nutritious greens

We not only tell you how seasonal vegetables or fruits are, but also what nutrients they contain. Macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat are actually not that much of importance compared to certain vitamins and minerals.

In our tables and graphs you find information for 7 vitamins and 5 minerals. These are the nutrients that are most often deficient in common diets (see the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). You will see at a glance how much a certain produce meets your daily demand (in percent of daily value per 100 g or 3.5 oz).

Some of the nutrients are in practice more critical than others. Regardless of the diet vitamin D and the minerals calcium, iron and zinc are often deficient, as are vitamin B12 and iodine. For a vegan diet, vitamin B2 can also be low in some cases, whereas non-vegan diets tend to lack vitamin B9 (folic acid) and sometimes vitamin C and E.

However if you make fruits and vegetables a substantial part of your daily diet, the spectrum of nutrients of concern further narrows down to a few that we recommend to supplement.

Supplements

You can’t get some critical nutrients like vitamin B12, D and iodine reliably by healthy nutrition alone. If you supplement them, you’re on the safe side.

Vitamin B12 is produced by micro organisms in the soil. It appears only in traces mainly on root vegetables, but only if the soil contained these micro organisms and you didn’t wash the vegetable completely sterile before eating. You can’t ensure sufficient supply by nutrition alone.

Vitamin D is present in mushrooms and in algae. Put your mushrooms in the sunlight to increase vitamin D content. But still the major source of vitamin D is your skin directly exposed to sunlight. Hence, at least during winter you should supplement vitamin D.

Iodine content of fruits and vegetables is highly dependent on the soil’s concentration of iodine. This depends itself on geological factors. Ever heard of the goiter belt? Iodine is often supplemented in table salt. Be careful not overdosing iodine!

Seasonality Data

Jump directly to September‘s produce to see what vegetables are in season now.

You may also check out our pinterest collection of vegpin images. Throughout the year 2017 we pick one fruit or vegetable of the week and create a beautiful factsheet for it 🙂

Year-Round

What vegetables are in season always? Well, in some months more seasonal than in others of course. But the following table presents our 10 x 10 picks: 10 veggies that are the whole year through harvested in at least 10 states. They won’t reappear in our monthly listings to give you a maximum of seasonal variation.

The “main season” is the months where the score on our seasonal scale is at least 50 %. The nutritional values are given with a reference line at 20 % of the recommended daily value for 100 g (around 3.5 oz) of the vegetable. The bars are truncated when the supply of a nutrient exceeds 25 % DV per 100 g.

Table of seasonal vegetables that are available year-round. Produce, main season and #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients.
Table of seasonal vegetables that are available year-round.

January

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for January with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for January

In January only regions with a warmer climate still produce crop. However, winter hardy vegetables are also available. Typical winter vegetables are variants of cabbage and collards or stored carrots and potatoes that have a long shelf life and were harvested the previous year

Winter fruits are quite rare. Oranges appear in our list. Other citrus fruits are also a possibility.

Download the printable pdf for January and February here.

February

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for February with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for February

If you wonder what vegetables are in season in February: The winter gets darker, the pantry emptier. Our top 3 are still sweet potatoes, fennel and turnips. We replaced celeriac by Brussels sprouts that are still produced in 7 states.

However, since the seasonality scale is quite low on all produce, it’s better to study our yearround top ten a bit more intense 😉

Download the printable pdf for January and February here.

March

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for March with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for March

The first spring fruits are coming soon: strawberries! However it’s still a few months until they are fully in season. The spring vegetable list knows fresh pea shoots and the first asparagus, radishes and spring onions (as well as green onions).

What you also must try are morels. They are not on our list, but are a real vitamin D booster. Don’t eat too much however, they also contain plenty (really PLENTY) of iron. And be careful not to confuse true morels with false morels when you’re out mushroom hunting.

It’s easier to collect dandelions and nettles. These we present in our individual vegpins for March. March and April are generally the best months for collecting wild herbs. They are still young and mild in taste.

Download the printable pdf for March and April here.

April

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for April with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for April

Our spring fruits and vegetables grow in seasonality! While seasonal fruits are still limited to strawberries (they are delicious anyway), seasonal vegetables appear in larger variety: Parsnips, Rhubarb and Peas are new in this month’s list compared to March.

If you’re living in the north, some of these items may not yet be available regional. But sticking to cabbage and potatoes still in April is hard, so grant yourself some imported veggies from the southern states 😉

Download the printable pdf for March and April here.

May

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for May with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for May

And what fruits are in season in May? More strawberries, yay! But again we have changes for our seasonal vegetables: Fava Beans are now only for a short time in season. Make use of this occasion with an oriental ful mudammas.

Arugula (or rocket) is also available now which is a real mineral booster. It’s delicious in salads and makes a wonderful garnish to pasta dishes.

Download the printable pdf for May and June here.

June

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for June with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for June

Spring fruits are over, summer fruits are here. High season for – you’ve guessed it – strawberries, riper and sweeter than ever. But there are finally other fruits in season now: cherries, blueberries and raspberries (and also boysenberries; not on our list). They’ll be available for the next few months.

Summer vegetables are also becoming plenty. Not on our list, but also highly seasonal are beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, collards, corn, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsley, potatoes and spinach.

Download the printable pdf for May and June here.

July

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for July with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for July

High season for berries (also gooseberries now). Enjoy cherries, their season will soon be over. And we have more summer fruits in season: peaches and nectarines.

What vegetables are in season in July? Well, mainly vegetables that are actually fruits: cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and zucchini (botanically all of them are also berries).

Anyway, July is one of the few months in a year that really has a plentiful assortment of fruits and vegetables in season. Almost everything you find at the store is a buy.

Download the printable pdf for July and August here.

August

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for August with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for August

Fruits and vegetables in season actually don’t change much. Nonetheless some entries in our list change to increase your variety of consumed seasonal produce: apples and especially pears are new in August, while melons where actually already available in July.

Cherries are over, but many berries are now at peak season now, as are stone fruits like plums, nectarines, peaches or apricots. It’s only a short time, so make use of it.

On the vegetable side we’d recommend the same spectrum as in July – the fruit-vegetables. Only a few are on our list, but in August goes the same rule as for July: You can buy almost everything you encounter at the stores.

Download the printable pdf for July and August here.

September

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for September with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for September

August and September are the months with highest production throughout the whole country. New vegetables in late summer season are cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, a ramp up in leeks production, turnips – all the typical winter vegetables the stores now get filled with.

They don’t appear on our list yet. You will have them on your plate soon enough. Yes, fall and winter are approaching slow but steady. Enjoy the last merits of this year’s summer season!

But fall has also it’s positive sides: Many fruits are really ripe now. Grapes are new in our list.

Download the printable pdf for September and October here.

October

#vegpin from #mealprepideas: Infographic for October with fruits and vegetables in season plus their #nutrition values for potentially critical nutrients. Use it as a shopping #guide!
Shopping Guide for October

Some summer seasonal vegetables still remain with their late production. Seasonal fruits are also available: grapes, apples, pears, and cranberry season starts.

But you’ll also realize that winter vegetables now find their place on our list: broccoli and celeriac appear now.

Download the printable pdf for September and October here.

Vegpins

Besides our monthly overviews, we are creating nice little infographics for several fruits and vegetables in season once a week throughout the year 2017. You find all of them on our pinterest board and also linked below: