Seasonal Produce Guide by Region

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by SkinnyMs.

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What happens when you do a quick Google search for seasonal produce? You’re probably finding everything from veggies that are in season three time zones away, or a few general lists of winter fruits and vegetables. But identifying fresh, seasonal produce depends on knowing what’s growing where you live. There are six distinct agricultural regions in the U.S., all of which have different harvest seasons with different produce items. This seasonal produce guide, categorized by region, will help you to pick the freshest winter produce in your area.

If you live in the Midwest, Upper Midwest or Northeast, winter is a tough time for fresh produce. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a greenhouse somewhere nearby that grows produce year-round and sells at farmers’ markets or nearby grocers. Other than that, the best way to get the freshest produce is to choose fruits and vegetables from the harvesting region nearest to you. Always check labels to see where the produce you’re purchasing was grown. Use the guide below to inform yourself about the various types of winter produce in different regions of the U.S.

How To Choose The Best Produce for a Healthy Lifestyle

Pacific Northwest

The following produce items are harvested through February in the Pacific Northwest:

Winter Squash (Learn about 4 health benefits of winter squash here.)
Rutabaga
Parsnips
Kale (sweetest in winter)
Collard Greens
Chard
Cabbage (sweetest in the cooler months)
Fennel (available year-round)

Beets are available through January. Try to choose beets with their greens still attached. This is a sure indicator that the beets are fresh and have not been sitting around in storage. Beet greens are delicious sautéed.

Check out our Polenta with Winter Greens recipe to learn how to incorporate different winter greens into one delicious, comforting dish.

Southwest

The Southwest is a prime region for fresh winter produce. The following items are harvested all winter long:

Arugula
Avocado (look for avocados that are dark green and “give” a little to light thumb pressure)
Bok choy
Broccoli
Broccoli Raab
Brussels Sprouts (maximum freshness ensured when they come on the stalk)
Carrots – Look for carrots with greens still attached to ensure freshness. Carrot greens can be sautéed or used in salads.
Cauliflower (best quality in cooler months)
Clementines
Chard
Collards
Grapefruit
Kale (sweetest in winter)
Kholrabi
Scallions
Leeks (look for non-wilted greens on top)
Lemon (Check out 10 recipes that use lemon here.)
Lettuce
Mandarins (sweetest in winter – choose ones that feel heavy)
Wild Mushrooms
Oranges
Parsnips
Pomelos
Radishes
Sorrel
Spinach
Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Tangerines
Turnips
Watercress

Available beginning in January:
Cabbage (sweetest in the cooler months)
Celery Root

South

The South weighs in with a smaller but respectable list of winter produce.
Apples are available through February.

The following are available year-round:

Collard Greens
Peanuts
Spinach

The following are available fresh in the winter and spring:

Grapefruit
Kale (sweetest in winter)
Navel Oranges

Knowing what grows where, and when, will help you make the freshest selections possible at the grocery store. Sign up for our newsletter to receive tips, tricks and information that will help you along your clean living path.

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