Question: I know that autumn is a great time to buy pumpkins, but I’m not so sure what other produce is in season in the fall. Any ideas?
Answer: Fall is a good time to buy pears, apples and hard squash, among many other seasonal fruits and vegetables. In fact, those are some of the items that many grocery stores are now starting to promote heavily at discounted prices in their grocery aisles, according to the Sept. 1 edition of the National Retail Report, a weekly roundup of advertised retail pricing information compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While improved technology and agricultural innovations mean that consumers can access fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season. When ripe, produce is fresher and typically has its best taste. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are also typically cheaper to purchase because they are easier to produce than fruits and vegetables that are grown out of season.
So how do you know which fruits and vegetables are in season?
One way to find seasonal foods near you is to use a new app and website developed by Grace Communications Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for sustainable foods. The app compiles data from the USDA and the Natural Resources Defense Council on over 140 varieties of produce to show users what fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts are in season on a state-by-state basis.
Called the Seasonal Food Guide, the app and website allow users to check what produce is in season in half-month increments in each state. Other sources to check for what’s in season include the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio Proud, among others.
While this is not an all-inclusive list, generally speaking, the following produce (among others) is in season in Ohio in fall:
Apples. beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers,eggplant, grapes, kale, onions, peaches, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, spinach, summer squash, turnips and winter squash.
So get out and enjoy some really tasty, healthy, fresh fruits and veggies. Your body, and especially your waistline, will thank you! Not only are fruits and veggies naturally low in calories, eating them may help reduce the risks of multiple diseases including high blood pressure, some cancers and heart disease, experts say.
Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected]