Cruising through the local farmers market is a great way to visually map what's in season. Talk to the farmers. Ask them when [insert favorite fruit or veggie here] will be ready, why that particular item is or is not available yet, if the beloved produce is having a good year so far, etc. Wait for the third or fourth week that your chosen item is in season to catch lower market prices. Shopping at farmers markets is the best way to avoid food grown from afar. Shipped-in produce will contain more pesticides and chemicals on their skins due to methods used for preservation during transport.
Usually considered a relaxing month with folks’ summer vacays in swing, August can be one of the best months of the year for peeping at late summer/early fall produce gems. August also marks the start of the harvest fury for some farmers while others are taking a break from summer crop gatherings.
Below is a general list of August friendly produce specific to North America. Pick out a few favorites from the list and get ‘em at their prime. Also find what’s in season specific to your state with this awesome interactive guide.
- Bell Peppers
- Green beans
- Summer squash
- Sweet corn
Picking the Right (or Ripe) Produce:
Farmers will often offer fruits and vegetables in various stages of ripeness. Price marked produce will be offered already ripe or will be on their merry way the following two days after purchase. By contrast, supermarket selections are usually harvested before they are completely ripened to buffer those extra days of transport. Ask when the fruit was picked – the fresher the better. The seller’s answer will reveal if they are the farmer that grew and picked the produce or if there was a middleman involved. Also, try not to manhandle the darlings. Remember: the more produce you touch, the more you are expected to buy. Farmers' market fruit (especially organic) bruises more easily than store bought fruit. Go ahead and smell the stem to check if a fruit is ripe - it’s not rude. The stronger the scent, the more ripe the fruit.