QUESTION: Summer is finally here and I’m craving fresh cherries, sweet corn and delicious ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine. What other fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer?
ANSWER: June 20 was the first day of summer, so now seems like a good time to revisit what fruits and vegetables are in season now.
As published in a previous “Chow Line,” summer heat and long days make it a good time to indulge in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, melons, sweet corn and tomatoes, among a wide range of plentiful produce. Not only are these items extremely fresh and flavorful because they’re in season, they’re also widely discounted because of the abundance of supply based on the time of year.
Improved technology and agricultural innovations mean that consumers can access fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.
But because fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season, produce typically is fresher and tastes best when ripe. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are also typically cheaper to buy because they are easier to produce than fruits and vegetables that are grown out of season.
In fact, the top advertised items on sale in local grocery stores are fruits and vegetables, accounting for some 94 percent of sale ads, according to the June 12 edition of the National Retail Report, a weekly roundup of advertised retail pricing information compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Apples, avocados, blueberries, grapes, miscellaneous berries, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and watermelons were the top 10 fruit items advertised in grocery store sale ads last week, according to the report. The top 10 veggies on sale in grocery ads for the week included sweet corn, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, potatoes, salad, squash, grape tomatoes and large plant tomatoes.
Summer is also a good time for agritourism, where farmers and producers open their farms to the public for consumers to hand-choose their own produce. Also known as U-Pick farms, these operations not only provide consumers with fresh, locally grown produce but also teach them about the farming industry.
Experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University offer a variety of educational programming for producers who want to incorporate agritourism on their farms. CFAES also offers tips for consumers when visiting agritourism operations.
There are several varieties of fruits and vegetables in season now in Ohio.
While this is not an all-inclusive list, generally speaking, the following produce (among others) is in season in Ohio during the summer, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau:
-Endive and escarole
So, now’s the time to enjoy fresh summer produce and, if you are able, to get out there and enjoy learning more about agriculture as you pick some fresh produce yourself.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line author Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected]