FALL/WINTER MENU PLANNING
Spring: March, April, May
Apricots come into season towards the end of spring.
Artichokes have a second crop in the fall, but the main harvest takes place in the spring when the largest thistles are available.
Asparagus is harvested from March through June.
Beets are in season in temperate climates fall through spring, and available from storage most of the year everywhere else.
Baby Carrots True baby carrots-the immature carrots farmers pull from fields to thin the rows - are available in spring and early summer.
Cherries are ready to harvest at the end of spring in warmer areas.
Sweet cherries, including the popular Bing and Rainier varieties, are available from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.
Fava beans are available locally from early spring through summer.
Fennel has a natural season from fall through early spring, but is available year round.
Fiddleheads are available in early spring through early summer. These young wild ferns are foraged.
Garlic scapes/green garlic are both available in spring and early summer. Green garlic is immature garlic and looks like a slightly overgrown scallion. Garlic scapes are the curled flower stalks of hard necked garlic varieties grown in colder climates.
Lemons are at their juicy best from winter into early summer.
Lettuce is available locally spring through early fall. However, really hot weather will cause leaf damage and sometimes molding.
Mint starts thriving in the spring.
Morels are foraged in the wild in the spring.
Navel oranges hit the end of their season in the spring.
Valencia oranges hit the height of their season in the late Spring/Summer
Nettles are a specialty item- usually a pre-order. Available until mid to late summer.
New Potatoes are small, freshly harvested potatoes with paper-thin skins. They are delicious simply boiled and buttered or used in potato salad.
Parsley may seem to be season-less, but this cool-weather herb flourishes in the spring in warm and temperate climes.
Pea greens are sold in big tumbled masses in spring and early summer. Look for bright vines with fresh, vibrant looking leaves. Avoid vines with brown or mushy ends or damaged leaves.
Peas (garden/English, snap, snow, etc.) come into season in the spring and continue in most areas well into summer.
Radishes are at their sweet, crunchy best in the spring.
Ramps are foraged in the spring and early summer. They are available on a pre-order basis
Rhubarb is the first fruit of spring in many areas - look for heavy stalks with shiny skin.
Spring onions are simply regular onions that farmers pull from the field to thin the rows in spring and early summer.
Strawberries Peak season is late spring through fall.
Sweet Onions have slightly different seasons, but in general they are available in spring and summer.
Summer: June, July, August
Apricots May still be available in early summer.
Avocados CA grown are harvested in the spring and go through the fall.
Basil Spring and summer it is locally grown
Bell Peppers/Sweet Peppers Best July through mid to late fall.
Blackberries CA grown start in the spring and run through early Fall, depending upon weather.
Blueberries CA grown start in the spring and run through early Fall, depending upon weather.
Boysenberries May be available in late spring, but height is June-August.
Melons (Cantaloupes, Honey Dews and varietals): Reach their peak in summer through early/mid fall.
Carrots are harvested year-round in temperate areas. Unusual varieties are harvested during the carrot's natural season, which is late summer and fall. True baby carrots - not the milled down versions of regular carrots sold as "baby carrots" - are available in the spring and early summer.
Cherries are ready to harvest at the end of spring. Sweet cherries, including the popular Bing and Rainier varieties, are available from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.
Chiles (fresh) (a.k.a. hot peppers or hot chilies) need heat to ripen and get hot - look for them at the end of summer and into early fall.
Corn Starts in June and runs through early Fall.
Cucumbers Varietals start in earnest around June and can run through mid-fall.
Eggplant Its local season runs from June through early Fall. Varietals start later in the summer.
Figs have two seasons, but the main one is during mid- to late-summer (June/July). A second, shorter season comes in Sept/Oct.
Grapes ripen towards the end of summer where they grow best; the harvest continues into fall.
Green beans tend to be sweetest and most tender during their natural season, from mid-summer into fall in most regions.
Herbs of all sorts grow locally through the summer - from basil to rosemary.
Huckleberries are a true treat of summer in areas lucky enough to have them.
Limes are the only citrus at their best in summer. Look for small, heavy-for-their-size fruits.
Mangoes need tropical heat to ripen and come into their sweet best in late spring and summer in CA, MX, and Hawaii.
Marionberries are a type of blackberry. Look for plump, shiny berries with a deep purple hue.
Melons cantaloupes, honey dews, crenshsaw, galias, plus other varietals are at their best in the summer months.
Nectarines are, essentially, fuzz-less peaches. They should feel heavy for their size and give just a bit when held firmly.
New Potatoes are small, freshly harvested potatoes with paper-thin skins. They are delicious simply boiled and buttered or used in potato salads.
Okra needs heat to grow, so a nice long, hot summer in warmer climates brings out its best. Look for firm, plump pods.
Onions come from storage all year round but most onions are harvested in late summer through the fall.
Peaches are one of the highlights of summer eating. Look for fruits that feel heavy for their size and that give just a bit when pushed. Avoid fruits that have green near the stem.
Peas come into season in the spring and continue in most areas well into summer.
Plums & pluots Season runs from around May to August for pluots, with plums lasting well into the fall.
Potatoes starts being harvested in late summer in many climates.
Ramps are foraged in the spring and early summer. They are special order.
Raspberries are the most delicate of all berries. Late spring and summer are their seasons, but hot weather can make them more fragile.
Rhubarb Should be available well into summer.
Shelling beans are those beans that can become dried beans but are briefly available fresh, as shelling beans, in mid-summer to early fall depending on the weather.
Spring Onions are available in spring and early summer.
Strawberries Peak season is April through fall.
Sweet Onions have slightly different seasons depending on type and region, but in general they are available in spring and summer.
Tomatoes Summer is their prime season. Look for all colors, sizes and varieties. Heirlooms are at their best in late Summer/Early Fall. (June-November)
Watermelons Are emblematic of summer- especially around the July 4th holiday.
Zucchini & Other Summer Squash (all varietals) have a local harvest season running from summer into fall.
Zucchini Blossoms are usually available in the summer through early fall, depending upon weather. They are a special order.