Fresh, fresh, fresh...we all would like to eat a more rounded, healthy diet. But most consumers feel uncomfortable knowing what produce to choose and whether or not it's ripe. They're not sure if the apple they chose at the market will have a clean, crisp taste or be a mushy imposter.

The best way to know a good fruit or vegetable is to be familiar with the seasonality of the produce in your part of the country. If you shop at a farmer's market in your neighborhood, you'll be guaranteed that the produce is in season and is local and hasn't been shipped hundreds of miles. Produce that's shipped is many days old and lacks "bright" flavor. It's usually sent out of the fields unripe with the hope that it will be ripe by the time you buy it at the supermarket. Try buying your produce from a local source. It's fun cultivating friendships with the local farmers. Also, produce that's in season is much cheaper than an out of season item. Someone has to pay for the shipping costs from another climate...

If you have limited time, a trip to the supermarket will be easier. Therefore, you should be somewhat familiar with the following charts before you buy. In general, Spring is the early season with lettuces, asparagus, and broccoli. Summer is berries, tomatoes, pitted fruit, and corn. Fall is the harvest when everything is abundant. Traditionally, winter is root vegetables and citrus fruits. Any good supermarket will carry a variety of produce that is out of season but, again, the taste will be compromised and the costs will be much higher.

Here is a seasonality chart by month on what is in season for that particular month. A good familiarity with the chart will help you in purchasing high quality, reasonably priced produce.

Winter- January, February

Avocados
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cardoons
Cauliflower
Celery Root
Cherimoyas
Chicory
Fennel
Grapefruit
Greens
Leeks
Mache
Wild Mushrooms
Mandarin Oranges
Sweet Oranges
Parsnips
Pears
Prickly Pears
Shallots
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Truffles

Spring- March, April, May
Artichokes
Asparagus
Avocados
Basil
Beans
Beets
Berries
Broccoli
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Chives
Cucumbers
Dandelion Greens
Fiddlehead Ferns
Horseradish
Head or Iceberg Lettuce
Mangoes
Okra
Sweet Oranges
Papayas
Peas
Chile Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Rhubarb
Shallots
Sorrel
Spinach
Summer Squash
Turnips

Summer- June, July, August,
Apricots
Arugula
Basil
Beans
Beets
Berries
Cherries
Corn
Cucumbers
Dates
Figs
Grapes
Mangoes
Melons
Okra
Peaches
Chile Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Plums
Sorrel
Summer Squash
Tomatoes
Watermelon

Fall- September, October, November
Apples
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery Root
Chicory
Cranberries
Cucumbers
Dates
Fennel
Grapes
Greens
Kumquats
Leeks
Head or Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf Lettuce
Mache
Wild Mushrooms
Nuts
Okra
Mandarin Oranges
Pears
Chile Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Prickly Pears
Quince
Shallots
Spinach
Winter Squash
Star Fruit
Sweet Potatoes
Truffles