What Foods to Buy When

What foods are at their best at what time of year?  How should foods be prepared in different seasons?  Food process engineer Dr. Timothy Bowser, a member of the Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board, provides us with some very helpful answers to these broad questions. 



Early season produce includes the following:

Fruits: apricots, plums, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, and peaches

Vegetables: Greens, peas, lettuce, spinach, green onions

Meats: If you are searching for free-range chicken, keep in mind that chickens naturally produce more eggs in the spring, bringing more chickens in the summer. Grass-fed meat has become extremely popular. The best grass for grazing depends on the local climate and grass varieties. Choose local grass-fed meat when, or just after, the grass has been greener. You will be happy you did.


Seafood: Seafood has its seasons around the world. You may be able to access in-season charts at https://www.dixonsseafood.com/fish-in-season-chart.  If this link doesn't work for you, try

googling the title of the site:  "Dixon Fisheries, Inc.  Seafood from around the world to you," and click on the link given there.  [Editor's note:  Sections of this website have recently been taken down for revision, so, if you can't reach the charts, try again several days later, or phone the company at 847-329-8077. Charts of the U.S. cover Alaska, Florida, the Gulf Coast, Long Island, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions, indicating heavy or light landings at various months of the year.]


Wild-caught freshwater fish is subject to seasons, too. My favorite is trout, which normally has a spring fishing season. Seasons vary with geography and climate.


Apples: Most apples in the U.S. are harvested in the fall when they are at their best. Apple cider quality peaks during the fall, too! Apples may be placed in controlled-atmosphere storage for sale later on in the year. Controlled atmosphere storage doesn’t harm apples, but they may lose some freshness in the process.




In warmer weather, especially when it is downright hot, I am not very interested in cooking indoors, where the heat can build up and fight with the air-conditioning. Steamy, cooked dishes on the stovetop are mostly out of the question. The outdoor barbecue, fryer, smoker, open fire, and grill are my ideas for cooking in hot weather.  


Foods and dishes that cool and refresh and contain plenty of liquids are excellent when it is hot. Watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, and similar fruits come to mind quickly. Lots of fresh water, mounds of ice, tea, and lemonade are great, too.


Source(s): Timothy J. Bowser, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering


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