Finally, it’s spring. And in northeast Ohio that’s a big deal since winter can feel like a never ending weather rerun. As the trees begin to bud and flowers pop out of the soil, we also start to think of our seasonal favorite fruits and vegetables–many that only fill our plates for a short period of time before spring turns into summer.
If you want to increase your intake of local produce and make more seasonally inspired meals it’s important to know what is in season during certain times of the year.
What’s Eating Seasonally?
It’s simply choosing foods that are naturally being grown and harvested in your area right now. This is the opposite of getting strawberries in December from the grocery store. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes you need a strawberry in December, but seasonal produce tastes better, is typically cheaper, fresher and more nutritional, supports the local economy, and is better on the environment (think transportation impacts).
It’s good to note that it isn’t always possible to eat local and seasonal foods, and not everyone has the luxury to do so. That’s okay! Do your best where you can, however you can each season.
What Vegetables and Fruits are In Season Right Now?
There’s plenty of fresh, locally grown produce available throughout spring in our region. If you’re waiting for that special seasonal treat, we recommend you visit the farmers’ market each Saturday to see what has come into season!
And don’t forget the fun doesn’t end when the seasons change. Many farmers and market vendors use storage techniques to keep root vegetables, tuberous vegetables, hard-shell cucurbits (the gourd family – winter squashes and pumpkin), some brassicas such as cabbages and more. This is why you’ll still see apples and garlic at the market in spring.
- Garlic (and Scapes)
- Leafy Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Rappini (Broccoli Rabe)
- Squash (Summer)
Season Extension What?
Yes, you can get asparagus almost any time of the year from the grocery store (probably coming from Asia or South America), but the best tasting stalks come from your region in the early spring!
You will notice that crops such as leafy lettuces are available almost year round. That is due to the practice of season extension that allows farmers to harvest earlier in spring and later in the fall. This can be done thanks to tunnels, hoop houses, row covers, mulches and clever experimentation. You’ll also find more options locally with the increase of CEA farming (Controlled Environment Agriculture) like indoor vertical farms that are hydroponically managed.
Eating Seasonally Chart
Do you want a quick list to help remember what’s in season? Download our full eating seasonally chart—we recommend hanging it on your fridge or in your pantry to quickly see which fruits and vegetables are in season by month to help inspire your meal planning and farmers’ market shopping list.
*Note: The Eating Seasonally Chart may become inaccurate for some crops depending on the season’s weather conditions. Produce availability is dependent upon more factors than one. A significant factor that has to be taken into consideration is the weather. In extreme cases, it may cause a given crop to be unavailable all season. In minor cases, it may cause a crop to have a shorter season than normal.