Through improved and growing international and inter-state trade, as well as modern farming technology, consumers don’t experience gaps in produce availability as they did in the past. While fresh strawberries from the corner fruit stand may not be available in the winter months, imported fruit from other areas is almost always stocked on the grocery store shelves. With enhanced knowledge of storing methods, use of greenhouses, and understanding of a region’s growing abilities, produce seasons have become longer and given us the ability to shop for high-quality fruits and vegetables throughout the year. There is a lot of security in our food system that we sometimes take for granted! However, just like strawberries, most fruits and vegetables have a time of the year when they are the freshest and at their best quality.
Here is a list of what is in season in California for the winter months: • Artichokes
• Brussel sprouts
• Navel oranges
• Green peas
• Sweet potatoes
Foods like almonds, walnuts, herbs, and canned or frozen fruits and vegetables that can be stored longer are always available. Our state grows over 400 different crops, which means shoppers don’t have to fret over whether they’ll have variety and availability while shopping for fresh food products, but it’s good to know what is the freshest during each season. For other produce that’s best to buy during the spring and summer, head to californiagrown.org to read their “What’s in season” chart.
If you’re looking to start a garden to grow your own produce, it’s important to know what is in planting season as well. This will provide the most optimal climate for the plants to grow without risk of frost damage. The best way to learn how to make the most out of a winter garden is to check out the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources website, but some common winter crops include:
• Swiss chard