Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables: A Month by Month Guide

Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables: A Month by Month Guide to What’s Fresh

Nothing is better tasting than fresh fruits and vegetables right out of the garden, but that isn’t a reality for everyone due to the time, effort, and space it takes to get a decent harvest. Plus, your produce is only good for a short period of time, which means you need to store it for later use if you don’t want anything to go to waste.

Even the most fastidious gardener ends up buying some fresh ingredients from the grocers from time to time, but this can add up quickly, and doesn’t always taste as great. To save on the cost of produce, and to ensure you are getting fresh picks, use the following guide to determine the cheapest fruits and vegetables month by month.

Why Watching Your Produce Seasons Matter

Woman wearing gloves with fresh vegetables in the box in her hands. Close up

Your backyard growing season may only be good for a few months out of the year, but the fresh picks available in your local grocers may travel thousands of miles to get there based on the growing climates of where they are grown. Since certain vegetables and fruits grow best in certain soils and climates, where they thrive are obviously where they are more heavily planted as a cash crop.

This means that they come into season during times of the year that you may not expect them too- like the middle of winter. Watching these seasons and their arrival at your local market can help you get the best deals possible.

Save on Cost

You are going to save when you buy in season because the farmers have surplus on their crop and want to move it rather than waste it.

Produce Grown Naturally

When you buy in season you also are ensuring it is fresh. No forced crops grown under artificial conditions (more on that below), and produce that is grown in ideal conditions and harvested at optimal times to maximize taste.

Nutrient Packed

You are supposed to eat your veggies and fruits because of the many health benefits they provide, but when they are less than fresh or grown in less than ideal conditions, then their nutrient value diminishes. Take advantage of seasonal choices to get the best nutrient packed picks you can get.

Great Time to Stock Up

Buying in bulk also allows you to save even more if you can take a little time to store your favorites. Most fruits and veggies are easy to dry, freeze, or can be used at a later date. This way you always have what you need on hand and don’t have to worry about it not being in stock, paying an insane cost for less than ideal flavor.

Fresh Produce and Technology

View of fruits and vegetables showcases in supermarket

How is that fresh produce getting to the market in such a timely manner, and how does it stay so fresh? Since the first railcar started to make its way across the United States, minds went to work at figuring how to get crops from the West Coast to the East Coast.

Things have only improved since then and most produce is on its way to its final destination the same day it is picked and arrives shortly thereafter. Advanced tracking systems, GPS, and improved modes of transportation makes getting what you need to your table in record time.  This is important to maintain freshness, flavor, and the many nutrients these choices offer.

As explained below, these advanced technologies also keep your favorites stocked in the grocery store year-round. This doesn’t mean you are getting the best quality or cost however.

Why Are Favorite Fruits and Veggies Available Year-Round?

Woman buying groceries at farmers market stand. saleswoman helping her choose

Why, exactly, can you find what you need year round? Buying in season gets you the best prices and flavors for a reason. When you buy out of season you are often getting forced crops grown under artificial lights or in greenhouses out of season. Not that these methods should be knocked- afterall, they are providing fresh produce- but the conditions aren’t exactly ideal and the results may lack in flavor and size.

Grow lights do a great job in providing the light needed for growth and production, but they still aren’t the sun. Ground soils are rarely used either, and growing mediums, hydroponics, and other substituted substrates are provided. The soils plants grow in lend themselves well to the harvested results, and flavor will vary using these methods.

Also- let’s face it, growing a crop in any size building in a controlled environment still isn’t going to yield the same amount of harvest as out in the open. This is a lot of the reason why costs are much higher out of season; less harvest equals a higher cost for the farmer to recover his investments and make a profit.

Cheapest Fruits and Veggies by Month

If your favorite recipes call for fresh ingredients, then take the time to know what is in season and when to make the best of each month. As mentioned above, stocking up to store certain choices is also ideal at these times for use later in the year. You may notice that some varieties show up more than once a season. This is because it is a staple crop in more than one growing region and can easily be stocked in a timely manner after harvest even when imported from another country.

Spring

Colorful root vegetables. Carrots, beetroots, turnips. Autumn market.

Spring is full of root veggies, cold hardy sprouters, and many cruciferea species that prefer cooler temperatures who would otherwise wilt or grow poorly in heat. It also has fast growing fruits to help kick off your warmer temperatures with a sweet taste of what’s to come as the season warms.

March

Artichokes
Pineapples
Mushrooms
Parsnips
Leeks
Rutabagas
Cauliflower
Radishes
Broccoli
Lettuce
Turnips
Brussels sprouts

April

Lettuce
Mushrooms
Leeks
Cauliflower
Radishes
Pineapples
Spring peas
Artichokes
Asparagus
Rhubarb
Broccoli

May

Okra
Artichokes
Pineapples
Spring peas
Apricots
Strawberries
Asparagus
Radishes
Zucchini
Rhubarb
Mangoes
Swiss chard
Lettuce
Cherries

Summer

Basket of tropical fruits on green grass

Summer is heavy on fruits as they quickly ripen in the increasing heat. You also will find corn available pretty quickly as it ships from southern climates and stays abundant through the hotter months as it continues to be harvested as it ripens. Many squash thrive in heat and will put out a continual supply of produce for long periods of time, making them easy to find and store in various ways.

June

Lettuce
Swiss chard
Cantaloupe
Strawberries
Peaches
Watermelon
Blueberries
Cherries
Mangoes
Apricots
Corn
Kiwi
Zucchini

July

Corn
Lettuce
Strawberries
Peaches
Summer squash
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Mangoes
Cucumbers
Apricots
Swiss chard
Kiwi
Blueberries
Peppers
Cantaloupe
Kohlrabi
Green beans
Plums
Zucchini

August

Butternut squash
Cantaloupe
Zucchini
Plums
Acorn squash
Figs
Peaches
Winter squash
Corn
Summer squash
Watermelon
Mangoes
Eggplant
Lettuce
Peppers
Blueberries
Swiss chard
Kiwi
Apricots
Kohlrabi
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Raspberries
Apples
Okra
Cucumbers
Green beans

Fall

Autumn concept with seasonal fruits and vegetables

The autumn months are a traditional harvest time throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and you will see many slower growing options become available as summer wanes. Thicker skinned fruits and veggies are now time to be gathered as they are wonderful fresh, and many store well for a few months with very little effort on your part (most can be placed in a cool, dark area and will last through the winter for later use).

September

Tomatoes
Acorn squash
Cauliflower
Butternut squash
Eggplant
Pumpkins
Grapes
Persimmons
Sweet potatoes
Mushrooms
Beets
Okra
Figs
Green beans
Lettuce
Spinach
Peppers
Swiss chard
Apples
Mangoes
Cantaloupe
Pomegranates

October

Leeks
Cauliflower
Spinach
Broccoli
Acorn squash
Beets
Sweet potatoes
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Turnips
Cranberries
Rutabagas
Mushrooms
Grapes
Butternut squash
Swiss chard
Pumpkins
Parsnips
Apples
Lettuce
Winter squash
Pomegranates
Persimmons

November

Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Pomegranates
Turnips
Pears
Pumpkins
Oranges
Rutabagas
Winter squash
Spinach
Beets
Sweet potatoes
Parsnips
Cranberries
Leeks
Brussels sprouts
Broccoli
Cabbage
Persimmons
Tangerines

Winter

Clay dish with winter fruits: grapefruit, tangerines, persimmons, pomegranates with leaves on the old wooden table, still life, selective focus

Winter yields much of what you will see in the spring as temperatures begin to climb out of dormancy stages in warmer climates. Many of what you see stocked in North America in season during the winter will either be from Southern climates or out of country. This is especially true of fruits as they come into season in the Southern Hemisphere and are shipped worldwide.

December

Tangerines
Rutabagas
Oranges
Pears
Cabbage
Kale
Broccoli
Parsnips
Papayas
Mushrooms
Leeks
Pomegranates
Sweet potatoes
Brussels sprouts
Grapefruit
Cauliflower
Tangelos
Turnips

January

Cabbage
Kale
Leeks
Lemons
Tangerines
Rutabagas
Turnips
Brussels sprouts
Tangelos
Grapefruit
Broccoli
Oranges
Cauliflower
Parsnips

February

Cabbage
Parsnips
Grapefruit
Oranges
Lemons
Broccoli
Turnips
Tangelos
Tangerines
Rutabagas
Brussels sprouts
Leeks
Cauliflower
Kale

Conclusion

If you love your fruits and veggies, then you know how quickly the cost of keeping them in stock can get. Have a good awareness of what’s in season can help you save on cost and also boost your nutrient intake. This guide is comprehensive to just about everything you will normally see in any grocery store for easy purchase.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know below! And, as always, please share!

A Guide to Fresh Produce Month by Month - Info

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