How to Eat Seasonally

Have you ever noticed that certain produce sometimes just doesn’t taste as good as it usually does? It may be due to eating out of season!

When you eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, you’re consuming them at peak freshness and flavor. It’s not just your taste buds that benefit! Eating seasonally is better for your health, your budget, and the environment!

When produce is grown out of season, it’s often picked before it is fully ripe, and transported long distances, resulting in a loss of flavor and nutrients.

On the homestead, where you focus on producing and preserving your own food, you start to naturally eat with the seasons. And if you’re a beginner homesteader, it’s a great way to get started!

But this is for anyone! Whether you grow it yourself, or pick it up at a local farmers’ market, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is a great way to support your health and the environment!

Benefits of Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Eating seasonally is a delicious way to improve your health, reduce your budget, and help the environment. Here are a few of the benefits:

Nutritional Value

Fruits and vegetables that are currently in season are typically fresher and more nutritious than those that are out of season. 

When produce is picked at peak ripeness, it contains more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables that are shipped long distances or stored for long periods of time lose some of their nutritional value.

By eating seasonal produce, you’re getting the most nutrients possible.

Even preserved produce has better nutritional value when it’s preserved at peak freshness. There’s a reason advertisements for the best brands of canned and frozen produce will brag about how quickly they preserve their products!

And let’s face it, when produce is at its best quality, it tastes better, and you’re far more likely to eat it! The food that spoiled in the fridge because it wasn’t appealing gave you no nutritional value!

Cost-Effectiveness and Availability

Seasonal produce in the grocery store is often less expensive than when it is out of season. It doesn’t have to be shipped from far away or stored for a long time.

Buying fruits and vegetables in season ensures you can enjoy fresher, more flavorful produce, and save money!

Finally get a handle on your grocery bill! Make your food budget stretch further with these awesome tips! Top 7 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (#4 May Surprise You!)

If you’re shopping at a local farmers’ market, you’ll notice that some produce simply isn’t available when it’s out of season. If it can’t be grown locally, it has to be shipped in.

Learning to eat seasonally will help you enjoy the fresh flavors of each season, and support your local farmers. Try asking for a favorite recipe if you’re not sure how to cook something!

Environmental Benefits

Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is also much better for the environment. Shipping long distances requires more energy, and produces more greenhouse gasses.

Storing produce before it goes to the consumer also uses more resources. 

In addition, out-of-season produce often requires more pesticides and other chemicals to grow, which can also harm the environment.

By choosing seasonal produce, you can reduce your carbon footprint, and support sustainable agriculture. 

What Fruits and Vegetables are in Season?

If you’ve never considered eating seasonally, you may feel unsure what fruits and vegetables to look for. A general list of seasonal produce will help guide you at the grocery store and when making your meal plans.

Because growing seasons are slightly different depending on location, the following is a general list based on the four seasons instead of a month-by-month list.

Some produce may not be currently growing, but is still considered in season because of how well it stores, such as apples, onions, and winter squash.


Spring is the season of new beginnings, and it’s also a time when fresh produce starts making its way onto our plates. From asparagus and peas to spinach and lettuce, we look forward to the first fresh harvest of the season! 

Enjoy the fresh flavors of the vegetables and fruits spring has to offer! Look for these fruits and vegetables in the spring:

Spring Produce. Vegetables are: asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, rhubarb, rutabagas, spinach, swiss chard, and turnips. Fruits are: bananas, kiwi, lemons, limes, pineapple, and strawberries.


Summer is the season of sun, warmth, and plenty of fresh produce. Farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and backyard gardens are filled with an abundance of fruits and vegetables that are at their peak during the summer months. 

Enjoy the abundance of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables that summer has to offer! Look for these fruits and vegetables in the summer:

Summer Produce. Vegetables are: beans, beets, bell peppers, carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, lettuce, okra, onions, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini. Fruits are: apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, lemons, limes, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.


Fall is a season of change, and it’s also a time when fresh produce starts to shift towards heartier and more robust flavors. 

As the leaves turn and the days grow shorter, you’ll see a return of some of the cool weather crops to go with the fall harvest. Look for these vegetables and fruits during the fall:

Fall Produce. Vegetables are: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, and winter squahs. Fruits are: apples, bananas, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, lemons, and pears.


Winter is a cold season with short days and long nights, but it’s also a time when fresh produce can still bring warmth and nourishment to our plates in addition to the preserved harvest from summer and fall.

Despite the colder temperatures and shorter days, there is still produce that is in season and fresh that is bursting with flavor and nutrition. Look for these vegetables and fruits during the winter:

Winter Produce. Vegetables are: beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, and winter squash. Fruits are: apricots, avocados, bananas, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, meyer lemons, and oranges.

Tips for Incorporating Seasonal Produce into Your Diet

Farmer’s Markets

One of the easiest ways to get your hands on fresh, seasonal produce is by visiting your local farmer’s market. Not only will you be supporting local farmers, but you’ll also be able to find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you may not be able to find at your regular grocery store.

When you visit the farmer’s market, be sure to bring reusable bags and cash, as some vendors may not accept credit cards. 

Take your time to browse the different booths and ask the vendors about the produce they’re selling. They may have tips on how to prepare certain items or suggest new recipes to try.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

If you’re looking for a more long-term solution to incorporating seasonal produce into your diet, consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This is where you pay a fee upfront to a local farm and, in return, receive a weekly or bi-weekly delivery of fresh produce.

Some CSA programs will have a preset selection of produce depending on what the farm is currently harvesting. Some will allow you choose from the current selection of produce.

Regardless, you’ll be getting amazing produce and supporting a local farm. Take it as a fun challenge to find new ways to use the different fruits and vegetables you receive each week.


If you have a green thumb, consider starting your own garden. As a homesteader, your goal may be to grow as much of your own produce as you can. 

But you don’t have to start with a huge garden! Anyone can grow a few potted herbs on their windowsill or some patio tomatoes. 

Expand your garden as you feel ready and watch your gardening skills grow with your vegetables!

By growing your own produce, you’ll have access to the freshest fruits and vegetables possible. Plus, there’s something satisfying about being able to eat something you grew yourself.


One of the best ways to incorporate seasonal produce into your diet is by finding new recipes to try. Look for recipes that feature the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season in your area.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. You may discover a new favorite dish that you never would have tried otherwise.

Once you find a family favorite, consider how it could be adapted through the seasons to incorporate different produce.


Congratulations! By choosing to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, you are not only doing your body a favor but also contributing to a sustainable food system. 

Eating seasonally can be a fun and exciting way to explore new flavors and experiment with different recipes.

Remember to check your local farmers’ market or grocery store for the freshest seasonal produce. Try incorporating a variety of colors and textures into your meals to ensure that you are getting a wide range of nutrients.

By prioritizing seasonal produce, you are also supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon footprint of your food. So next time you’re at the grocery store, think twice before reaching for that out-of-season produce and opt for something that’s in season instead!

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