What Fruits and Veggies are in Season?…

I always stress when it comes to food that we need to do three things: eat whole foods, eat organic foods, and eat in-season fruits and veggies.

Think about it… 100 years ago if you wanted a tomato in the winter what did you do? Nothing. The only foods that were available were the ones that were in season. There were no genetically-modified tomatoes that could be purchased year round. We have such a disconnect with our foods because of the modern farmers and the grocery stores that they supply.

How do you know what foods are in season if your local grocery store has it year round?…  Visit the farmer’s market. They will only have in-season foods. Or you can take this list to your grocery store to help you out…

Fruits and Vegetables in-season… month-by-month

January (winter)

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerines

February (winter)

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Tangelos

March (late winter/early spring)

  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple

April (spring)

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring peas
  • Zucchini

May (spring)

  • Apricot
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Pineapple
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring peas
  • Zucchini

June (late spring/ early summer)

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

July (summer)

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

August (summer)

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

September (late summer/early fall)

  • Apples
  • Eggplants
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Persimmon
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkins
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

October (fall)

  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkins
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash

November (late fall/early winter)

  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Cranberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkins
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Winter squash

December (winter)

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cranberries
  • Grape fruit
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Pomegranate
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerines
For a season-by-season list, click here.

Buy local… If you make use of your local farmer’s market you will automatically be purchasing the in-season fruits and vegetables. Most local farms participate in CSA (community supported agriculture) programs that provide you with a monthly shipment of in-season fruits and veggies picked at the peak of the season. Visit www.localharvest.org to see where the local CSA can be found in your community! A monthly CSA box of fruits and veggies will diversify your diet, you will receive fresh foods that will send you to the recipe books looking for a way to incorporate it into your diet.

Start your own garden!… Any fruit or vegetable you can grow in your own yard is fresher than any you can buy, and it costs nothing but an hour or two of work each week plus the price of a few packs of seeds. “The health of growing food contributes to your health long  before you sit down to eat it, of course, but there is something particularly fitting about enlisting your body in its own sustenance.” ~Michael Pollan

With love,

Natural foods…

Definition of Natural Foods: Food that does not contain any additives, preservatives or artificial coloring.

In spite of the increasing popularity of Organic food these days, most of the people do not have a clear idea regarding the definition of organic food. In simple words, Organic foods are those foods that are produced, processed and packaged without using chemicals. They have been accepted due to their perceived health benefits over conventional food. The organic industry is growing rapidly and has caught the attention of farmers, manufacturers and, above all, consumers.

Organic foods protect from heart disease and cancer, as they contain Phenolic compounds. Organic food ensures high food quality, which other conventional foods cannot give. Organic food is natural and fresh, and thus, it is tasty! Many people prefer to grow organic food in their home gardens, because it costs about 20% more than the conventional food. Organic gardening uses organic seeds, organic fertilizers, compost, organic root stimulators, and organic pest control. It has been claimed by health experts that organic food is more nutritious. Some of the features that can be associated with organic food are quality, good taste, proper selection of crop varieties etc.

So, why don’t we all eat natural, organic foods?
Money, convenience, southern eating habits, the list goes on and on. Yes, organic foods are more expensive, but this expense comes at a good price. The added expense is the time it takes for the farmers to naturally grow & care for the crop. In “chemical farming” there is a process called chemical ripening where the food is ripened faster with chemicals so the farmers can produce a higher volume of crop. Chemical farmers also use genetically modified ingredients.

When purchasing organic food look for the Organic Certification, this will let you know that the farmers meet the organic farming requirements.

Support your local farmers!
Most cities have a local farmers market. In addition to supporting your local farmers you will be eating fresh foods that are in season. Certain foods grow at a certain time of year for a reason! We should suppport our bodies with in-season foods.

In Birmingham the Alabama Farmers Market is a place full of magic. Open air, open year round, locally grown fruits and vegetables & located in West Birmingham.

The Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine is a great way to stay up to date with organic grocery news.

Why not???

Eating better makes you feel good. Think of how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner. Nap time? Yes, please. As Americans we have so many traditions that revolve around food, if we made that food whole grain, natural and organic we would feel a lot lighter after dinner!

Also, Americans are obsessed with looking good. Starvation diets, surgery, pills… you name it. How about working on how your body looks from the inside-out? I promise it will feel a lot better than all the other weight loss tricks!

In addition to the Alabama Farmers Market a few local (Birmingham) grocery stores that carry natural, organic foods are: Whole Foods, Golden Temple, Organic Harvest, Manna Market, Red Rain & Health Foods West. Also remember that your every day grocery store (such as Publix) has an organic section too!

Kashi also has a great selection of organic, whole grain food items that can be purchased at most any grocery store. They offer snack bars, cereal, frozen entree’s & more… no excuses!

*Visit the Organic Food Stores Locator to find local Organic Grocery in your town!

Healthy eating!