What’s In-Season for April

April 12, 2021
| Created by Ashley Quadros, MS, RDN, CD

Spring is here! Warmer weather, long sunny days, and abundant, fresh fruits and veggies are some of the main reasons we love the Spring season here at Harmons. Eating seasonally is a wonderful goal as there are a number of benefits. 

Better Flavor  

Produce that is in season is picked closer to ripening. This means a couple of things. First, the food has more time on the vine/tree/bush etc. to fully develop its flavor and natural sweetness leading to richer taste. Second, due to the ripeness, products can’t be shipped as far which means they tend to be distributed more locally. As a result, the time between the farm and your plate is shorter leading to fresher, yummier food.  

Higher Nutrient Values  

More time to ripen also means more time for nutrient development. For example, tomatoes that ripen on the vine have up to 50% more vitamin C than when picked green. Shorter shipping time also means there is less time for nutrients to degrade. In the case of vitamin C, levels decrease 10-20% just 6 days after picking. 

Lower Cost  

Produce that is in season is more abundant and available, driving prices lower than when it is sold out of season. A good example of this is cherries. In June before cherries are widely available, the price is around $7.99/lb. Once July hits and the crops begin ripening, prices plummet to $2.98/lb. 

Better Variety 

Eating with the seasons helps pull us out of food ruts. With each season, the foods you eat change which keeps your taste buds happy and excited for what comes next! The natural variation also ensures you get a variety of nutrients which is good for health. Not to mention, studies show that increased variety often leads to increased intake… which is great news because most Utahns need to eat more fruits and vegetables! 

Boosts Local Economy 

As was mentioned earlier, seasonal produce is more often distributed locally since ripe items are softer and don’t tolerate long shipping times. Thus, purchasing local and in-season produce is supportive of our local farmers. However, it should be noted that this is not always true. For example, grapes from Chile are in season right now but Utah grapes won’t be available until Fall. So, while Chilean grapes may be in season, they will not be local until Fall. 

Environmentally Friendly 

Having produce available 365 days per year is thanks to our global supply chain. For example, regions growing strawberries or zucchini in December must ship all the way to us, using a lot of fuel along the way. Shopping seasonally when you can, increases produce shipped from local or nearby producers, reducing the amount of gas used. 

Now that you know the benefits, here is the full list: 

Whether your motives have to do with nutrition, flavor, price, the environment, or your local economy, enjoy seasonal crops and the many benefits that come with them. Harmons social media accounts are updated the first Sunday of each month with seasonal items, be sure to follow @harmonsgrocery so you don’t miss it! 

*Grapefruit availability may be limited due to weather events in Texas. 

References 

Howard L, Wong A, Perry A, and Klein B.  B-carotene and ascorbic acid retention in fresh and processed vegetables.  J Food Sci. 64 (5). 1999: 929-936. 

Kader, A. 2002. Pre-and postharvest factors affecting fresh produce quality, nutritional value, and implications for human health. Proceedings of the International Congress Food Production and the Quality of Life. Sassari, Italy. 1, 2000:109-119.  Department of Pomology, U of California, Davis, USA.