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How to Know Which Fruits and Vegetables Are in Season (and Pick the Best Ones)

One of the keys to finding good produce at the farmers market is knowing which ones are in season.

The first step to making a good purchase at the Bernardo Winery or Webb Park farmers markets may just be knowing what to look for. Knowledge of which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you spot the market fare likely to be the freshest, and less expensive than items out of season locally.

The San Diego Farm Bureau provides a harvest calendar that makes it easy to see when your favorite crops are most likely to be found at a local farmers market.

According to the bureau, here are some seasonal items to keep an eye out for now:

  • Artichokes and asparagus (February-March)
  • Avocados (March-November)
  • Cabbage (October-March)
  • Cucumbers (April-November)
  • Navel oranges (November-April)
  • Onions (April-October)
  • Rhubarb (January-March)
  • Snap peas (January-April)
  • Tangerines (November-March)
  • Valencia oranges (April-September)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also offers tips for selecting the best items once you know what's in season. For example, if homemade guacamole is on your dinner menu, you'll want to look for slightly soft avocados, which are best for immediate use. Pick up more firm avocados if you don't plan to use them for a few days, and leave them at room temperature to ripen. Watch out for dark sunken spots and cracked surfaces, which are signs that the avocado is decaying.

And then be careful about this: buying fresh fruits and vegetables only to let them go to waste. StillTasty.com helps you figure out how long your purchases will last, depending on whether you've cut them, left them in the fridge or set them on the counter.

There are also some farmers market staples that remain in season all year:

  • Cut flowers
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Guavas
  • Herbs, fresh
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tangelos

The farmers market runs Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon; the is on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other help:

A Guide to Buying Fruits and Vegetables (PDF)

FruitsandVeggiesMatter.gov (from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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