Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month

By Thursday Bram on 19 July 2008 (Updated 8 July 2014) 44 comments

Every blogger who writes about saving money, eating healthy or just plain cooking tasty meals tells their readers to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season. I've had just one problem: I don't know what's 'in season.' I vaguely know that apples are harvested in the fall, and I know that my third grade class picked pumpkins the week before Halloween. Beyond that, though, I'm at a loss.

(See also: How to Choose Fruits & Vegetables)

I've been searching for a simple page that I could add to my shopping list or something equally convenient. Even asking around the local farmer's market gave me only a general idea. After some online research, though, I've got something of a list to go by. Keep in mind that depending on your part of the world, this list may not hold true. This list is pretty decent for the U.S. — I'm not sure about warmer climates, but I would guess it's basically reversed for the Southern Hemisphere.

 

Broccoli, Asparagus, and Tomato Pasta

January

Vegetables

  • cabbages
  • leeks
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Fruits

  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • tangelos
  • lemons
  • papayas

Recipes:

February

Vegetables

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Fruits

  • oranges
  • grapefruits
  • lemons
  • papayas

Recipes:

March

Vegetables

  • broccoli
  • lettuce

Fruits

  • pineapples
  • mangoes

Recipes:

 

fresh berries

April

Vegetables

  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • spring peas
  • broccoli
  • lettuce

Fruits

  • pineapples
  • mangoes

Recipes:

May

Vegetables

  • okra
  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • spring peas
  • broccoli
  • lettuce

Fruit

  • cherries
  • pineapples
  • apricots

Recipes:

June

Vegetables

  • corn
  • lettuce

Fruit

  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • peaches
  • apricots

Recipes:

 

fresh plums

July

Vegetables

  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • summer squash
  • corn
  • green beans
  • lettuce

Fruits

  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • blueberries
  • peaches
  • apricots
  • kiwi
  • raspberries
  • plums

Recipes:

August

Vegetables

  • cucumbers
  • corn
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • summer squash
  • green beans
  • lettuce

Fruits

  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • blueberries
  • peaches
  • apricots
  • kiwi
  • raspberries
  • plums

Recipes:

September

Vegetables

  • eggplants
  • pumpkins
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • lettuce

Fruits

  • grapes
  • pomegranates

Recipes:

 

pumpkin soup

October

Vegetables

  • pumpkins
  • winter squash
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • sweet potatoes

Fruits

  • cranberries
  • apples
  • pomegranates
  • grapes

Recipes:

November

Vegetables

  • pumpkins
  • winter squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • spinach

Fruit

  • cranberries
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • pears
  • pomegranates

Recipes:

December

Vegetables

  • sweet potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Fruit

  • pears
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • papayas
  • pomegranates

Recipes:

 

 

How Is This List Helpful?

Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season gives you a clue as to what produce is likely to be on sale at given times in the year. At the very least, it can help you plan your shopping list — and skip the expensive, out of season items. It can give you ideas for menu planning, as well; there's a reason that holiday favorites are popular at certain times of the year. (See also: Best Credit Cards for Groceries)

Bananas, potatoes, and celery seem to always be in season. For bananas, at least, I think it's because they have to be shipped into just about everywhere. There are a few holes in this list, admittedly. I didn't find a clear season for carrots, parsnips, and a few other vegetables and fruits.

If you want to go all out on saving money on your food, having an idea of what's in season tells you when to buy produce. While you can buy out of season produce fresh, it may be worth your while to can or preserve some of your preferred fruits or vegetables during the months that they're cheap.

For anyone trying to buy locally, through farmer's markets or CSAs, having a good idea of seasonal produce is also important. You'll have a better idea of what to expect. And with certain 'farmers' looking to take advantage of the local trend, you'll be able to do a little due diligence on what you buy.

 

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Guest's picture

Epicurious has an interactive map so that you can see what's in season in your state month by month through the year.

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/sea...

It's not perfect of course. But it gives a pretty good idea of when locally grown foods will be available.

Guest's picture
Tonamel

Eat the Seasons breaks down what's in season on a weekly basis, and, though not as specific as the above Epicurious link, is nice because it has the list of currently in season foods right there on the front page.

Fred Lee's picture

We live in Vermont and the seasonal aspect of food is right there in your face. Just visiting the farmer's market will give you a firsthand look at what's available, and over time you begin to figure it out. Personally, I like the adventure aspect of not knowing what to expect when we get there, and as a backup, we can always hit the local Shaw's.

Thanks for the informative article.

Guest's picture
Abby

For Bay Area residents, the Local Foods Wheel is great for knowing what's in season: http://www.localfoodswheel.com/

I'm not sure if folks in other regions make these, but my boyfriend and I find that the wheel helps us know what to eat both seasonally and locally. And it's so cute that we hung it in the kitchen.

Guest's picture
Guest

There is a much easier way to know what is in season. Just go to the market and see what is the cheapest and what is filled to the top in the stands.
If there is a lot of it everywhere and it is cheap it must be in season.

Jason White's picture

This list will certainly come in handy during my trips to the grocery store (and the farmers market).  Thanks for putting it together!

Guest's picture
Diana

Thanks for the list. I've struggled with that notion of what's in season. Your list as well as the other suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Guest's picture
Guest

Is it just me, or is this website getting stupider and stupider? I'm with the previous commenter - go the farmer's market and see what's local and abundant.

Guest's picture
Guest

While I appreciate the above poster's sentiment, for me it's just not as simple as find what's local and abundant. Finding what appears to be cheaper at the market (and thus, what must surely be in season) doesn't help unless you've kept track of the fluctuating prices of ALL produce over the previous 12 months. I have no idea if September's prices for eggplant/artichoke/broccoli/apple/asparagus/orange/beet/green bean/cantaloupe/mushroom are higher or lower than June's prices because I haven't kept a running account of the prices for every possible item of produce I might want to buy. Additionally, if it's not "abundant" at the market, is that because it's not in season, or because stock is running low when you visit the market? Hmm, I dunno, do I?

Along the same lines, I've seen very useful lists in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and Real Simple detailing the best times of year to buy linens, appliances, new cars, etc. Historically, these items tend to go on sale at specific times of year based on market forces that I'm just not aware of. Frankly, it's a hell of a lot easier to utilize a list someone else has put together than for ME to keep track of the best time of year to purchase EVERY item I might want for my home and family.

One more thought.... The economy the past year or two has been such that, although an item might be in season and thus comparatively cheaper than at other times of the year, it might actually be MORE expensive than it has been in the past because the cost of EVERYTHING is shifting upward. At least with these useful lists, I can know that I'm getting the best price possible.

Guest's picture
Guest

P.S.!
I wanted to add something I forgot to mention. I love farmer's markets, but right now I'm on food stamps, so around here, unfortunately, I'm confined to buying what's in my grocery store. In a grocery store, it's difficult to tell what is abundant because it's seasonal and what's abundant for some other marketing reason. In a grocery store, abundance on the shelf doesn't necessarily equal "inexpensive."

Guest's picture
Surina

NOT SMART to shop without a list unless you have time & money to burn. Especially when you have kids with you. I found this list very informative and a time saver.

Thanks

Guest's picture
Guest

This is the first time I've visited this site & I've enjoyed the helpful advice that is accessible for free, but I have to say that your comment is very ignorant. Similar to other posters, who have mentioned that you can go to your local farmers market or supermarket (Shaws), to find what is abundant... the purpose of this advice is not mainly for frugal spending - it's also to note what is best to buy and when.

I know it's not just me because I have read other questions on various sites that ask the same question... fruits may be in the plenty and cheap or on sale at some market, but that DOES NOT mean they are 'in season' ... you'll know this when you've already bought it, taken it home, cleaned it... just to take your first bite & realize that it lacks flavor or juicyness, etc. What are you going to do, return it? O.o

Anyway, I dislike Shaws fruit... it may just be the one I'm near, but every time I buy clementines from Star Market, it sucks! It's strange because I could buy clementines year round in NY and they would taste great! Getting back to the point though, I bought strawberries a couple weeks ago that tasted perfect! Recently bought them again and ::sigh:: disappointment!

Guest's picture
Guest

In response to the comment about having to shop in the grocery store instead of a farmer's market because of food stamps, you should check out an article I saw about a program called Wholesome Wave to double food stamps for using at farmer's markets. Go to aarp.org and search the website for "Shopping tips Wholesome Wave."

Guest's picture
Laura

I like this list (and those on the links) because I can look ahead to what to be planning for. And as retired Navy people, a list like this would have been real handy when first moving into an area. I'd been in Washington for 2 years before I found out cherries grow here! Not everyone has been doing this "all thier lives" and not everyone knows what's in the area. Refering to people who appreciate the help as stupid is certainly a good way to make them throw up thier hands and say "forget it" to the whole frugel world and just buy what they want.
Thanks for taking the time to put together such a nice site.

Guest's picture
Guest

I certainly didn't mean to imply that people who need help are stupid or that the readers of this website are stupid. I am frustrated that the content of wisebread seems to be getting less helpful, reliable or relevant. Like the post a few weeks (months) ago where the author said that drinking more water would cure cancer. There seems to be a need for more oversight, more vision, more relevant content.

Guest's picture
Suz

I've been meaning to make this kind of a list for myself for a very long time. Living in SoCal, basically I can find things in season all the time, but it helps if I know when they're in season everywhere so I'll know when they get cheap!

-Suz

Guest's picture
Chibi

Cherries are not listed! Cherries usually start in early July.

Guest's picture
Colleen

Thanks for this list. I know I'm going to find it helpful!

Guest's picture
Guest

i live in southern parts of karnataka, hw can i advise these to others where some of the foods and veg listed out by you re not avilable? but its good

Guest's picture
Yahneev

I would like to find out the relevant information concerning fruits and vegetables which one should consume in summer, autumn, winter and spring.

Guest's picture
Guest

This was awesome and exactly what I was looking for!!! I'm in the same boat of WANTING to buy in-season, but farming just ain't in the blood and I had the same vague notions of apples and pumpkins in the fall, tomatoes in the summer, etc. LOL Thanks SO much to the blogger and to the commenters who posted other resources.

=)

Guest's picture
Guest

Tomatoes are FRUIT!

 

Sigh!

Guest's picture
Guest

Scientifically, tomatoes are classified as a fruit, but since they don't contain the sweet flavor of most fruits and are typically used in savory dishes, they're legally classified as a vegetable.

Guest's picture
Diane

So are cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers! Why pick on tomatoes?

Guest's picture
Guest

My favorite fruit wasn't included on this list! Honeydew

Guest's picture

When we eat fruit and fruit juice then it must be fresh. Nothing cooked, canned or processed in any way. Nothing pasteurized. Fruits such as bananas, raisins, dates and all dried fruits are more concentrated and will stay in our stomach longer than the watery fruits, so we will feel full longer. It is essential, however, to not eat fruit dried with chemicals such as sulfur nitrite. Eat only naturally dried fruit. We should eat some fruit every day, and in the morning is when we can be sure there is nothing else in the stomach that will cause fruit to spoil.

Guest's picture

It could be partly due to your stomach bloating from the fructose sugars of the fruit you are consuming. How it happens is when there is excess fructose/sugars in your stomach, the friendly bacteria and bad bacteria feast upon the sugars, fermenting them and thus releasing gases-you might experience flatulence.
When you snack on those oranges, perhaps have you considered your total daily calorific intake? A healthy diet should include regular exercise, the body will metabolize the excess into fat all the same, be it organic or non-organic.

Guest's picture
Jackie

For southern hemisphere people (Aussie, NZ etc)
http://www.campionandcurtis.com/seasonal.html
This has a simplified list and downloadable list of seasonal vegies and fruit by seasons

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks so much for the list! I'm a nearly broke college student and I've been wanting to plan smoothies that will work for each month for days when I've only got seconds to get to class. Knowing what's in season helps tremendously when trying to calculate what I can afford.

Guest's picture
terri

Thank you so much for all the valuable information!

Guest's picture
Leah

I am finding all sorts of stuff I'm looking for today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is exactly what I need.

Guest's picture
Kellynotacook

Great article! Just what I, too, have been looking for for a long time now! Now I know what ingredients to search recipes for and how to better plan my weekly menu. As the previous commenter stated...not all of us have been doing this "all our life" and need a boost to help us out!

Guest's picture
Bill

i am camping in the Northeast right now and intend on going all over this list along with epicures is very helpful. thanks for all your work!

Guest's picture
veggie tales

They forgot to add Cherimoya's, they are in season now!

Guest's picture
Guest

you are a saint. I'm using your post as a general guide for the fuit day programme in my company. But we're situated all the way in south east asia

Guest's picture
Tex

C'mon! Lighten up and don't be haters, guys. This list is helpful for those of us who don't have the time to browse the farmers' produce. I'm always on the fly, so I like these lists to help me plan my menu before I ever make it to the market or Whole Foods. By finding this one, I now know in which months it would be best to create/serve certain dishes. The info on Epicurious and Eat the Seasons was very helpful as well. Finding this site gave me a lot more info. Thanks to all!

Guest's picture
Guest

Yeah. I know in FL Strawberries are currently in season. There is even a huge strawberry festival every March. As well as oranges are pretty much grown all yr with the exception on August. Along with some other citrus. There is usually so much leftover thought that you still them @ the farmers market like crazy. Even Dr. Oz said the the Central FL has the advantage to fresh fruits and veggies all year long.

Guest's picture
Guest

Good article...not only are fruits and veggies more expensive when you buy them "out of season," they just don't taste as good!

Guest's picture
terry

You just lost me as a customer because of your add for soda coupons. How can a healthy veg and fruit add support soda?

Guest's picture
Guest

While in some ways this may be helpful in creating ideas....A little more research was needed, and no, in the warmer climates it would certainly not be reversed as they may grow totally different crops then we do that is "exotic" or Foreign to us, but common to them (durian fruit, lychee,tomotillo etc) http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?id=Seasonalfoodguides here is a good guide some links are broken but you can always type in google the state/country you reside in and the month for in season food can even get exact by typing in exact lat/long (easily found through google maps) . off the subject Wow our economy has been sinking a long time.from 2008 and its now 2012 (well its been sinking even before those years) well the USA and the world survived the 1930's great depression and rose to great success in the 1950's -1960's only to fall again. hopefully the economy rises again( a little more quickly fingers crossed)

Guest's picture
Guest

This was sooo helpful!! thanks so much!

Guest's picture
Diane

Living in Southern California, we have access to many more locally-grown fruits and vegetables every month than this list shows. If you can find it at the farmer's market and it tastes good, consider that it's in season! Otherwise, go to the supermarket and look at where your produce is coming from. Many stores post this info, or it is tagged on the produce itself. Grapes and tomatoes from the USA = in season. Grapes from Chile, tomatoes from Mexico = not in season.

Guest's picture
Guest

corn is a grain, not a vegetable

Guest's picture
Farmer

Corn, Zea mays, belongs to the Poaceae family, and while eaten sometimes as a vegetable and sometimes as a grain, it is actually classified by botanists as a fruit, as are tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and other squashes. Sweet corn is a variant in which the sugar in the fruit kernels turns from sugar to starch less slowly after harvest.