​What Does it Mean to Eat Seasonally?

Produce are considered "in-season" when they are at their peak flavor or peak harvest time. In-season fruits and vegetables can be categorized into each season of the year: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Eating seasonally means consuming foods during this peak time, as they are harvested during their natural growing season.

Why Should We Eat Seasonally?

Seasonal eating can have countless benefits to your health, community, and the environment. Some of the many positives that can come from eating seasonally include:

  • Supporting the local community and farmers by purchasing produce when and where it is grown
  • Decreasing pollution by cutting back on the distance the produce travels 
  • Decreasing the energy needed to produce foods in an area or time they would not usually grow 
  • Saving money at the grocery store or farmers' market
  • Enjoying fresher and more flavorful food

What to Eat Each Season

Fruits and vegetables have their own natural growing and production season. Familiarize yourself with what is in season before heading to the store or Farmers' Market. Here is a list of some produce to get you started:

  • Winter: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, grape fruit, winter squash, pears, pumpkins, apples onion, oranges, leeks, and rutabagas
  • Spring: Spinach, asparagus, strawberries, apples, avocados, carrots, cabbage, garlic, collard greens, peas, lettuce, onions, and mushrooms
  • Summer: Bananas, eggplant, mangos, okra, peaches, apples, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini
  • Fall: Apples, beets, broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes and yams, raspberries, winter squash, turnips, swiss chard, peas, kale, and cauliflower


Where Can I Shop Seasonal Produce?

Once you know which produce are in season, you can find it at the grocery store, your local farmers' market, shopping centers, and even gas stations! Keep a list of in-season produce for the current time of year and hang it on your fridge, keep it in your purse, or have a picture on your phone to reference. Shopping at your local farmers' market is a great way to further support your community and cut down on pollution from travel. Farmers sell seasonal fruit and vegetables, and they can be less expensive than the grocery store. As a bonus, you will have face-to-face contact with the person who farmed your produce. This gives you opportunity to ask them any questions you may have about their fruits and vegetables.

Check out these links to learn about seasonal produce near you!

https://www.picktnproducts.org/seasonal.html

https://nashvillefunforfamilies.com/farmers-markets-in-nashville/

Making these small changes to your diet can leave a lasting impact on your health, environment, and community.

Practice

Choose one current seasonal produce item to purchase on your next shopping trip. For an added challenge, research where a local farmers' market is. Make a visit and purchase your chosen produce from one of the local farmers.

Recipes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Veggie Bean Wraps

Helpful Resources

Seasonal Shopping List

References:

  1. Macdiarmid, J.I. Seasonality and dietary requirements: Will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? [PDF] Public Health Nutrition Research Group. Published November 21, 2013.
  2. Seasonal Produce – Fall and Winter. American Heart Association. Published February 1, 2017.
  3. Seasonal Produce Guide. Accessed March 4, 2019.