What's in Season?



Why Buy Local?

The following information is from the Local Harvest website. This site is full of valuable information on seasonal produce.

"Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

We can only afford to do this now because of the artificially low energy prices that we currently enjoy, and by externalizing the environmental costs of such a wasteful food system. We do this also to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy.

Cheap oil will not last forever though. World oil production has already peaked, according to some estimates, and while demand for energy continues to grow, supply will soon start dwindling, sending the price of energy through the roof. We'll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible.

Cheap energy and agricultural subsidies facilitate a type of agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities, and concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. It is also threatening the security of our food systems, as demonstrated by the continued e-Coli, GMO-contamination, and other health scares that are often seen nowadays on the news.

These large-scale, agribusiness-oriented food systems are bound to fail on the long term, sunk by their own lack of sustainable practices. But why wait until we're forced by circumstance to abandon our destructive patterns of consumption? We can start now by buying locally grown food whenever possible. By doing so you'll be helping preserve the environment, and you'll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer."

It is a great achievement to buy local and in season. To be able to support local farmers is one of the biggest key components to our environmental woes. And there is no healthier choice you can make than consuming the freshest and tastiest foods available to you. Learning what produce is in season is a wonderful way to achieve both of the above.

So many times I have gone into the Grocery store and come out with produce that is weeks old, finding it tasteless. I wanted to educate myself to be an advocate when it comes to buying local. Supporting the local farmers and decreasing my carbon foot print. First I wanted to learn what produce was seasonal at certain times of the year. Then I wanted to narrow it down to what is available seasonally in New England. And Lastly, I wanted to know what was grown locally, a 100 to 200 mile radius.

Here is a list of seasonal produce available for sale in Southern Massachusetts.

Spring Vegetables:

Broccoli, Green onions, Lettuce, Peas, Salad greens, Arugula, Daikon, Kale, Mustard Greens, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Asparagus

Spring Fruit:

Rhubarb

Summer Vegetables:

Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green beans, Green onions, Kale, Garlic, Lettuce, Peas, Salad Greens Summer Squash, Sweet Peppers, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Shallots, Hot Peppers, Spinach

Summer Fruit:

Blueberries, Melons, Peaches, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cantaloupe, Water melons, Black berries

Fall Vegetables:

Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Sweet corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Salad greens, Sweet peppers, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter squash, Cabbage, Celery, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Radishes, Shallots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Arugula, Brussel sprouts, Parsnips, Spinach

Fall Fruit:

Grapes, Apples, Avocados, Cranberries, Peaches, Plums, Pears

The above produce can be found at Whole Foods (make sure to look for a sign that says "Grown Locally"), Farm Stands, Farmer Markets, Farms, and CSA programs. To find listings of local farms near you go to the 'Local Harvest website', it is an incredible resource.