Seasonal Produce Buying Guide

Fruits and Vegetables Are at Their Best When Locally Grown

Wooden crate of seasonal vegetables
Justin Hutchinson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

If you want to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables at the peak of their goodness, check this list before heading to the grocery. While most produce is available year-round, the seasonal items on this list have a better chance of being locally grown, instead of being shipped in from hundreds of miles away. During the growing season, check out farmer's markets in your area for seasonal, locally grown produce that's picked at just the right time and within a short time frame from farm to market stall.

An old saying captures the natural wonder of fresh fruits and vegetables: "There's nothing so rare as true love and homegrown tomatoes."  A BLT made with homegrown tomatoes in August is a delight that satisfies the senses in a rarefied, indescribable way. One made with tomatoes shipped from California to the Midwest in the deep heart of winter, well, it's bland and boring by comparison. Hardly worth bothering with. And so it is with just about every type of produce you can think of: fresh peach pie in August from locally grown peaches, apple crisp in September made from apples that were picked the day before at an orchard just out of town, Greek salad with cucumbers in July from a farm 15 miles away. Turn your meals up a notch by using seasonal, locally grown produce picked at the peak of freshness as much as possible. Your palate will thank you.

This seasonal produce list was compiled by the Cool Foods Campaign.Harvest times vary depending on which part of the country you call home, with some seasonal produce available in overlapping seasons, depending on location.

For more information on the benefits of seasonal, locally produced foods, check out the Local Foods website.

Winter:
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Onions
Leeks
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Radishes
Greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, collards)
Turnips
Winter Squash
Apples (early winter)​

Spring:
Asparagus
Beets
Celery
Spring onions
Greens (arugula, lettuce, kale, spinach, Swiss chard)
Peas​
Peppers
Turnips
Rhubarb
Strawberries

Summer:
Artichokes (limited availability)
Greens (arugula, collards, kale, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard)
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumber
Eggplant
Garlic
Beans
Onions
Peppers
Okra
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Summer squash
Sweet corn
Tomatoes
Turnips
Zucchini
Apples
Apricots
Blackberries
Blueberries
Boysenberries
Cherries
Currants
Figs
Melons
Peaches
Raspberries
Strawberries
Watermelon

Fall:
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Greens (arugula, collards, kale, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard)
Cucumber
Eggplant
Garlic
Gourds
Beans
Onions
Peppers
Leeks
Peas
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Summer squash
Sweet corn
Tomatoes
Turnips
Winter squash
Zucchini
Apples
Pears
Plums
Melons