Does Eating Seasonally Matter?

By: Kristen Keith, Dietetic Intern at the University of Texas at San Antonio
Reviewed by: Celina Paras, MSc, RDN, LD

What does in-season mean? The seasons (think fall, winter, spring, and summer) essentially determine when a plant can grow its best. Have you ever wondered why you don’t see very many watermelons during the winter months, but they seem to be everywhere during the summer? In Texas, watermelons grow their best between May and early winter; making them highly available during these months1.

Benefits of eating in-season produce:

  • Eating certain foods during “their season” can ensure you get the maximum amount of flavor from your food.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are currently in-season are usually cheaper during those times of the year. Although we can import peaches into Texas when they aren’t in-season locally, they are usually higher in price. Contrastingly, when Texas is producing peaches (think the summer months into September), they can be found at significantly reduced prices in your grocery store. Buying in-season produce will ensure that your grocery bill stays low.
  • You can even impact your environment by choosing local, in-season foods. Because we don’t have to transport, refrigerate, freeze, or package them as extensively, we save on energy and fuel (both impact our planet!).
  • Variety is another reason eating in-season produce is beneficial. Because we are aware of what is available, we might be tempted to try something new. Every fresh produce item offers its own unique set of nutritional benefits. We can often find ourselves in a rut; only eating certain foods and certain combinations. By exposing ourselves to the local farmers markets, we can increase the nutritional and taste value of our meals through variety.

How can we stay up-to-date on the locally available produce?

  • Your local grocery store: ask an employee what their local produce is for the week or the season. You can even ask them what they think will be going on sale in the future.
  • Local Farmer’s Markets: While you’re there picking up some fresh fruits and vegetables, you can ask the farmer what he or she is currently planting or harvesting.
  • Newspaper Events Section
  • Helpful websites:
  • Going on a trip or planning to move? Different plants may be in season in your new area. Inquire online and around town to determine what produce is now in-season.