Regional and Seasonal Food

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Can you eat regionally and seasonally?

The tastiest fruits and vegetables are almost always those that come to you at the peak of their natural harvest time. The freshest fruits and vegetables are almost always those that travel the least number of miles or kilometers to your plate after harvest.

Following the seasons and the harvests in your area—say within a radius of 150 miles–is one way to begin thinking about eating regionally and seasonally. Visiting farmers markets or produce stands in your area will give you a start on getting the hang of fresh and local eating. With a little luck, you might be able to eat regionally and seasonally half of the year, and if you are in the right place, you might be able to do it all year round.

If you can’t get to a farm market on a regular basis, take a look at the boxes your produce man is unloading or even at the stickers on the produce. It doesn’t take much investigation to find out how far your produce has traveled.

Remember, it’s almost always harvest time for your favorite fruit or vegetable somewhere in the world. The key is to figure out how far your produce traveled to get to you and what it might have cost in taste doing so.

The tastiest fruits and vegetables—and probably the most nutritious–are almost always those that come to you at the peak of their natural harvest time, not those that are ripening in the packing crate or on the market shelf.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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