Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seasons - What seasons?

Now, that I am back to shopping in the store for most of my veggies - sigh - I have noticed again how much we have come to disrespect Mother Nature and are completely ignorant of what the earth has to offer us at any given time of the year. I am talking about seasons. When you look into the produce department of the average supermarket you would think that we have done away with seasons all together. Yes, it makes perfect sense to buy an apple that has racked more frequent flier miles than you did last year. Watermelon in late November, why not?

We need to get back on focus here - first step would be to know what is in season. There is a wonderful website where you can check the seasonal offerings in your state. You can access it here.
Also, I have compiled a quite extensive list of fruits and veggies. Print it out - bring it to the store with you. I tried to be thorough, but if your favorite fruit or vegetable is missing - just drop me a line and I will include it. This list does contain fruits and veggies that have to be shipped from far - you can avoid those and only shop what is grown locally. You will definitely save money that way - and the planet will love you for it!

I have included some stern warnings in my seasons chart - vigilance please!

“First” means it could be a bit early for an item to taste like anything - if you don’t get an aroma - maybe pass for that week. Some veggie producers in their rush to be first on the market will order to pick when things are only barely ripe - not good for us - since the taste will be missing. Also, I have witnessed with some hardier items unscrupulous markets to offer last season’s leftovers! Happens more often than you would think!
“Last” of the season - should not be a problem - more of a warning to you - if you would like to stock up! Keep in mind you might see a particular item still offered weeks after the season is really done, but it will often have had to endure long storage or be an inferior substitute shipped from a lesser market all together.
“Grab” - means just that - this item will have a really short growing season and you might see it offered only once! So - Grab!
I have grouped cruciferous veggies together - since they have overlapping seasons - a quick refresher:

Cruciferous veggies love the colder weather from late fall to early spring. They include:
Collard Greens
Brussel Sprouts
Bok Choy

And just to remind everyone the Citrus Family contains:



Fruits: citrus, the last apples (careful!), cranberries
Veggies: leeks, beets, cruciferous veggies, spinach, swiss chard, potatoes


Fruits: citrus
Veggies: cruciferous still rule


Fruits: pineapple, Mexican mangos, citrus (especially Valencia and Blood Oranges), Rhurbarb
Veggies: spring lettuce, endive, artichokes, mustard greens


Fruits: pineapples from Hawaii, asparagus, avocado (haas), rhurbarb, mangos, first strawberries(careful!)
Veggies: asparagus, spring cruciferous - especially broccoli, first summer squash, spring onions (with green tops), garden peas, romaine lettuce, artichokes, new potatoes, spring carrots, spinach


Fruits: apricots from California, first berries(careful), Florida mangos, citrus(end of season - careful), fresh figs, pineapples from Hawaii (end), cherries (end of month maybe! - really short season - so grab!)
Veggies: green beans, bell peppers (first), cucumbers, summer squash, celery, sugar snap peas, vidalia onions, asparagus (end - careful!), endive (end- careful!)


Fruits: Cherries (short season - grab!), berries, cantaloupe, apricots, plums
Veggies: green beans, bell peppers, carrots, beets, garlic, summer-squash, swiss chard, basil


Fruits: watermelon, peaches (short season - grab - local, no spray only), berries, plums, currants (very short season)
Vegetables: tomatoes (first local - careful still early) walla walla onions, eggplant, peppers, beets, green beans, cucumbers, summer-squash,


Fruits: watermelon, pears (first- careful!), berries (end - careful!), peaches ( short season - grab - local-no spray only!), plums
Vegetables: corn, eggplant, tomatoes ( peak - local only!), basil, summer squash


Fruits: cranberries, grapes (American - organic only), apples ( first new crop), berries ( last - careful!)
Vegetables: cruciferous veggies ( first - careful!), mushrooms ( short season - buy local & wild if possible!) corn (last - careful!), green beans, summer squash ( last - careful!), potatoes ( new season’s crop), winter squash ( first- careful!), eggplant ( last - careful!)


Fruits: cranberries, apples, pomegranates, pears, fresh nuts ( walnuts, hazelnuts!), avocado ( Fuerte varietal)
Vegetables: winter-squash, pumpkins, cruciferous veggies, rutabaga,


Fruit: kiwi ( US grown), Navel oranges, grapefruit and other citrus, apples, pears, nuts ( almonds)
Veggies: Sweet potatoes, winter-squash, pumpkin, cruciferous veggies ( especially cabbage), turnips, parsnips, carrots


Fruit: Jaffa oranges, apples & pears ( last for the season), cranberries, all citrus
Vegetables: cruciferous ( especially kale, brussel sprouts), sweet potatoes, winter-squash (last - careful), turnips

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