From apricots to asparagus: The fruits and vegetables in season now

In a city boarded by tall buildings, it’s easy to lose track of all the natural, freshly grown fruits and vegetables that are in season. Of course, when the weather permits, farmer’s markets offer a much-needed selection of ripe and ready produce, but when the air is still nippy, the decision of either Brussels sprouts or collard greens is difficult to make at the grocery store. If the stores sell the same produce all year round, doesn’t that mean they’re always in season? Short answer: no.

Produce that is “in season” are the fruits and vegetables that are consumed and bought around the time they’re harvested, and this varies by item. Though some food is sold every month, that doesn’t mean those items were recently grown and gathered.

According to the Seasonal Food Guide, out-of-season produce is “harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store.” So, just because there are always cartons of blueberries and strawberries available for purchase, doesn’t mean they’re always at their peak tastiness and ripeness.

With mid-March upon us, the winter burn is fizzling out and the beginning of spring is blossoming. As the first official day of the new season, 19 March, approaches, it’s time to add new produce to your meals. Aside from the sweeter and richer flavours, eating seasonally has nutritional benefits.

Per the University of Maryland Medical System report, studies have shown that seasonal eating provides the body with “higher levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which protect against cancer and other serious diseases, than produce that has travelled long distances and has to sit on grocery store shelves for long periods of time”. This is because the fruits and vegetables can naturally ripen first before they’re consumed.

What’s more, eating seasonal, locally grown food, aids the planet by reducing the emissions from the transportation used to distribute the out-of-season produce.

“Produce that is harvested in its proper season matures longer on the plant, which makes it more nutrient-dense when compared to being picked before its prime,” the Mayo Clinic Diet report added. “Buying seasonal produce can actually help the environment as it reduces water and land use, pollution, and soil degradation.”

So, which fruits and vegetables should you be opting for now moving into late March and April?

Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, collared greens, lettuce, kale, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, and turnips are the vegetables harvested and ready to consume.

Apples, apricots, bananas, kiwi fruit, pineapple, rhubarb, and strawberries are the fruits in season. Other produce to eat in the spring includes avocados, herbs, garlic, lemons, limes, and green onions.