Think of the experience of a perfectly ripe, juicy summer tomato—rich red color, perfect consistency, bursting with flavor. Buying in season makes all fruits and vegetables more enjoyable—and that’s not the only benefit, according to NYC-based registered dietitian Lisa Hayim. When you purchase produce at peak season, you get more natural nutrients, she says. “Because seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t undergo lengthy transit times to get from farm to your kitchen, these integral vitamins and minerals are more likely to be preserved by the time you’re ready to eat your produce,” she says. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic reports that spinach can provide up to three times more vitamin C when consumed in season—September through October.

You’ll also save money: Shorter travel times for your produce means lower shipping costs, which lowers the grocer’s price, and those savings get passed on to you at checkout. There’s also the law of supply and demand, says Los Angeles-based registered dietitian Lindsey Pine. “When fruits and veggies are in season, the farmers will most likely have an abundance of the crop and prices will go down.” For example, GAIAM reports that out-of-season basil runs $3 per half ounce; in season, it’s just $1 to $2.

If you’re looking for the freshest of the fresh, your local farmer’s market is a great place to start. Before you go, check out the six giveaways the produce at the farmers market isn’t fresh or local. And if you’re short on shopping time, join a CSA (community-supported agriculture association) for fresh, picked-that-morning produce sourced directly from a local farm. And when you’re shopping at the grocery store, you can buy in season with this guide to ensure you get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Don’t miss these secrets your farmer’s market isn’t telling you.

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

December

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale

Leeks

Mushrooms

Oranges

Papayas

Parsnips

Pears

Pomegranates

Rutabagas

Sweet potatoes

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

January

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale

Leeks

Lemons

Oranges

Parsnips

Rutabagas

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

February

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale

Leeks

Lemons

Oranges

Parsnips

Rutabagas

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

March

Artichokes

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cauliflower

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Parsnips

Pineapples

Radishes

Rutabagas

Turnips

April

Artichokes

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Pineapples

Radishes

Rhubarb

Spring peas

May

Apricots

Artichokes

Asparagus

Cherries

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra

Pineapples

Radishes

Rhubarb

Spring peas

Strawberries

Swiss chard

Zucchini

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

June

Apricots

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Cherries

Corn

Kiwi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Peaches

Strawberries

Swiss chard

Watermelon

Zucchini

July

Apricots

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Corn

Cucumbers

Green beans

Kiwi

Kohlrabi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra

Peaches

Peppers

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

Summer squash

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

Watermelon

Zucchini

August

Acorn squash

Apples

Apricots

Blueberries

Butternut squash

Cantaloupe

Corn

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Figs

Green beans

Kiwi

Kohlrabi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra

Peaches

Peppers

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

Summer squash

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

Watermelon

Winter squash

Zucchini

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

September

Acorn squash

Apples

Beets

Butternut squash

Cantaloupe

Cauliflower

Eggplant

Figs

Grapes

Green beans

Lettuce

Mangoes

Mushrooms

Okra

Peppers

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

October

Acorn squash

Apples

Beets

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Butternut squash

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Grapes

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Parsnips

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Rutabagas

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Turnips

Winter squash

November

Beets

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Leeks

Mushrooms

Oranges

Parsnips

Pears

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Rutabagas

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Tangerines

Turnips

Winter squash



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