What’s in season right now in Utah?
Locally-sourced seasonal produce can be difficult to navigate during a pandemic with limited grocery runs and increased inclination to buy more shelf-stable goods. By identifying local seasonal produce, we can help support our community’s local economy and farmers, while eating flavorsome and nutritious foods!
Seasonal produce is food that is harvested at its peak ripeness in a certain time of the year. Eating in season definitely has its benefits- do you ever think about the difference in taste when eating fresh summer strawberries? Tomatoes from the farmers market? It’s just not the same in the winter. That’s because many of the foods we eat in the winter are grown in hotter climates, picked before fully ripened, and then shipped to climates that are unable to produce them. The reason that seasonal produce tastes so much better is because it is picked at peak ripeness and brought to stores quicker than produce that needs to be shipped.
The focus on seasonal eating has a variety of benefits for both the environment and nutrient intake. Local in-season produce is likely the freshest, and when fruits and vegetables are ripened naturally, they tend to contain higher nutrient content. In contrast, foods that are not local or in season have to be grown in warmer climates and are typically ripened with the use of ripening agents.
The environmental disadvantage of produce from out of state is evident in the need for shipping, refrigerating, and all other handling expenditures to get it to your local market, whereas local produce has a faster harvest to market time. All in all, local seasonal produce has a shorter time between when it is harvested and when it is eaten, making it a fresher, tastier, and local community supportive option.
In Utah, we have a large variety of produce that grows well throughout different stages of the growing season. Luckily, this gives us many options to choose from. Late spring produce is here, and early summer produce is just around the corner. Some end of May produce that likely available from local stores and farmers near you:
Additionally, during June we will see the emergence of many more fruits and vegetables and progressively more throughout the summer. Some June produce we will see very soon:
- Green onions
A great resource to find in-season vegetables in your area is www.seasonalfoodguide.com, where you can select your region and season to capitalize on fresh produce near you!