Nutrition Blog‎ > ‎

Where to Find Local, Seasonal Produce

posted Oct 23, 2015, 8:29 AM by

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been writing about why you may want to consider adding more local and seasonal produce to your diet. But how can you get your hands on local, seasonal fruits and veggies without making hunting them down your full-time job? Here are our favorite places to shop for local and seasonal foods:

  • Visit a farmers market or roadside stand: To find a market near you, check out the USDA’s Farmers Market Directory.  You may think of farmers markets as a weekend activity, but these days many workplaces offer farmers markets on weekdays near office locations (for example, the USDA hosts a farmers market on Fridays). What can be more convenient than picking up local produce on your lunch break? Also keep your eyes open for roadside stands along your commute. You can pop in on your way home for some local fruits and veggies. Farmers markets and stands are also a great way to get to know the people who grow your food since their staff is often involved in farming operations.
  • Join a CSA: Last month, we wrote about how CSAs (community-supported agriculture) can help you save money on fruits and veggies.  They can also introduce you to a wider variety of produce, which has both nutritional and culinary benefits. Visit LocalHarvest’s web site to find a CSA near you. If you want to get even more local, use the Washington Post’s interactive map to find the closest farms to your home.
  • Shop for local food online: CSAs have many benefits, but the inability to stop deliveries when you’re out of town or request specific items can be a no-go for some people.  If you want more flexibility and convenience, but still want to eat locally and seasonally, consider trying an online service.  Several websites, including Hometown Harvest and Relay Foods, allow you to place online orders for produce from local farms for pickup or delivery right to your door. Read more about how technology is changing how we access local food here.
  • Don’t write off your supermarket: You don’t necessarily have to change where you shop to get more local, seasonal produce. Due to customer demand, many supermarket chains offer local produce in addition to their regular offerings.  Independently-owned grocery stores are also worth checking out since they often have more flexibility to partner with local suppliers. Local produce will usually be marked, but if you don’t see it, be sure to ask the store manager.
  • Use an app:  These days, there’s an app for everything. Whether you need help finding local farmers markets, figuring out what’s in season, selecting the freshest produce, or deciding what to make with your haul, consider downloading one of these apps. 
  • Grow it Yourself: Food from your own backyard is as local and seasonal as it gets. Last month, we provided ideas to help you get started. Consider giving it a try next spring!