Locally, Organically, Seasonally

What to eat in your neighborhood right now

 


I’m slightly obsessed with eating organic. When my first child was born, a certain light went on in my head. No pesticides for my kid. I’m not overly dramatic about it, I understand eating completely organic can be impossible; but when given the chance, I can be seen reaching over the regular produce for the clean and beautiful pesticide-free product.

Recently, after changing to a more organic-friendly supermarket, I noticed another change I could make to lower my grocery bill, guarantee fresher product and support my local growers. I was turning to locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, which are in season and in turn, at their absolute peak of beauty and taste.
Shopping and eating locally, organically and seasonally is extremely rewarding. When I pop a cherry tomato in my mouth, I know it came only a few blocks to reach my plate, not aboard a large truck traveling hundreds of miles in the scorching summer heat. When I slice the summer squash for my egg white scramble in the morning, I think of the local man who watered and cared for my food before taking it to my market. My food comes from my neighbors and my money goes right back to my neighborhood.

Making this change is as easy as checking labels and watching for signs in your supermarket. With a tiny amount of research, the food hitting your table can have a bright burst of brilliant flavor.

August and September in the United States is a transitional time for vegetation. The end of heat and the beginning of fall lends itself to a variety of produce, and no matter where you are in our glorious nation you can count on a few standard basics. Every person can reach for arugula, apples, peaches, herbs, basil, corn, cantaloupe, eggplant, squash, carrots, peas, tomatoes and zucchini, and feel extremely confident in the purchase. Weather, humidity, land density and a multitude of other factors determine the rest of the foods that grace the earth in each separate region.

Regional purchases can be made with this knowledge:

Pacific Northwest:
Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Broccoli, Chard, Chiles, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Edible Flowers, Grapes, Green Onions, Lettuce, Kale, Huckleberries, Greens, Mint, Melons, Radicchio, Raspberries, Spinach, Sunchokes, Watercress

Northern California:
Avocado, Almonds, Grapes, Green Beans, Nectarines, Pears, Okra, Raspberries

Southern California:
Grapes, Green Beans, Nectarines, Okra, Pears, Plums, Raspberries

Arizona:
Chard, Chiles, Cucumbers, Figs, Melon, Peppers

Midwest:
Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Celery, Garlic, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Pears, Peppers, Spinach, Watermelons

Southern States:
Blackberries, Chiles, Cucumbers, Grapes, Mushrooms, Nectarines, Onions, Potatoes, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon

Florida:
Bananas, Fennel, Green Onions, Jackfruit, Guava, Leeks, Limes, Lychee, Mangos, Mushrooms, Passion Fruit, Shelling Beans

North East:
Beets, Blueberries, Broccoli, Chard, Celery, Green Onions, Lettuce, Peppers, Plums, Rutabagas, Spinach, Turnips, Watermelon

For more information on eating green in your neighborhood, check out LocalHarvest.

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Comments

  • Snooth User: IrmaMarie
    906680 0

    This is a great article and very informative. It makes me want to start buying more organic when ever possible..

    Aug 03, 2011 at 11:51 AM


  • I really like the idea of my produce coming from just down the block, and in turn my money going right back into my community. I actually love that, and sadly hadn't thought about that opportunity until you pointed it out. Thank you!

    Aug 03, 2011 at 12:51 PM


  • Snooth User: ahizer
    906725 0

    Thanks for sharing. Such a reminder to view our produce in a different way. Purchasing from local growers is not only a tastier, healthier option, but it makes cuisine that much more personal. I loved reading about the regional purchases. Definitely bookmarking this article for future meal planning!

    Aug 03, 2011 at 1:01 PM


  • Snooth User: suebeee63
    906808 0

    i really enjoyed reading this article, very informative. my husband and planted a garden this year, its great to learn more about healthy eating. looking forward to reading more.

    Aug 03, 2011 at 3:19 PM


  • Snooth User: madeablog
    603567 2

    Thanks for this! I try my best to eat locally and seasonally, and it's hard to know what's always on the list.

    Aug 03, 2011 at 5:37 PM


  • Great article! Love the idea of encouraging local growers to continue with their passion for farming and food! Plus, what a great way to share with your family what local ingredients are in season.

    Aug 03, 2011 at 5:41 PM


  • You made me hungry for fresh garden vege's Amanda. Up here in the Willamette Valley, Oregon I am surrounded by hundreds of local & family farms where you can actually pick fresh fruits & vegetables. It is so great to know that so many people are now interested in eating fresh & local. People are even raising chickens to have fresh eggs in their own backyards. Loved your article!

    Aug 04, 2011 at 1:58 AM


  • I am lucky in the fact that I almost always have the chance to get great, local produce. Growing up in Iowa meant a steady supply of tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, asparagus and lettuces during the summer, and in the fall there were more squashes than we knew what to do with!
    However, I now live in northern Argentina and produce here is a whole different ball game! ALL YEAR ROUND I can get amazing produce from the ferias that feature local farmers. The difference in taste is my main motivation, there is absolutely NO substitute for a tomato ripened on the vine!

    Aug 04, 2011 at 11:54 AM


  • Snooth User: Leah Mansback
    Hand of Snooth
    555565 1,297

    Thank you for this guide! I never know what to buy and from what part of the country. Super helpful.

    Aug 04, 2011 at 1:02 PM


  • Great article! Thanks for the regional guide. I'm in the early stages of planning a backyard garden so that I can get my kids interested in eating different vegetables. This will help!

    Aug 05, 2011 at 1:42 AM


  • What is thought of as old is new again. Supporting local growers and enjoying the fruits of their labor is what we should do. There is nothing better than eating fruits and veggies that were just picked that morning. Growing your own even makes it that much sweeter. The joy I receive seeing my grandson eat freshly picked tomatoes, knowing no chems were used, is a wonderful feeling!!

    Aug 06, 2011 at 6:29 PM


  • Snooth User: Dylanjh53
    906820 0

    Very nice! I really enjoyed all the information you provided. Great article. I hope to see more of these types of articles.

    Aug 08, 2011 at 6:05 PM


  • Snooth User: ValleyMom
    920826 0

    Great Article and very informative! As the master chef to a hungry family, I am always looking for delicious, healthy and economic ways to feed them. Shopping for locally grown produce makes perfect sense! I will make a greater effort to plan my meals around locally grown produce! Thanks for the tips!

    Aug 24, 2011 at 2:06 AM


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