Spring - What's special about it?
Often we think Spring is the season of abundance, but that's really not true. While there's certainly some produce that tastes its best during in spring, summer produces the more abundant yields. While the month of May is still early for some fruits and veggies, it certainly kicks off the season.
"In the produce business, we all kind of wish every month was like May. It’s a time of intense change, and it marks the official start of the summer tree fruit season," says James Parker, the associate coordinator for Whole Foods Market's global perishables buying office. "We also see a tremendous increase in local and regional production throughout the U.S. Because it’s domestic season, the product doesn’t have to travel as far." That means that not only will produce in the grocery store be better quality, but it will likely be a good price too.
Parker says that in May, produce quality is still "contingent on the whims of Mother Nature." But we will start seeing lots of fruits and vegetables that were in poor supply in the Spring and Winter months. Here are five foods to add to your shopping list this month.
Corn: You may think of July and August as peak corn season, but consider this: "You want to buy corn as close to where it’s grown as possible," says Parker. "That's because the longer the corn is held in storage, or the longer it has to travel, the less sweeter it becomes—its sugars convert to starch." Not only will corn by growing in abundance in California and Florida, but southern states will start seeing large crops too, which means less delivery travel nationwide.
Blueberries: Blueberries tend to taste better if you buy them locally, and domestic production of blueberries will be happening this month in many parts of the country. Not only will blueberries be fresh and sweet, but you're likely going to get a good deal too since berries will start competing against summer tree fruits for consumers' attention.
Apricots: Apricots tend to have a pretty short season, but Parker says this year's weather indicates there will be tasty apricots in May. "Most folks have them in preserves or dried, but the fresh fruit season is touch and go," he says. If the weather is really inconsistent, Parker says it can affect the apricot quality. "But this year we had a pretty mild winter," he says. That means there will likely be some delicious apricots available this month.
Cherries: "If you like cherries, chances are you are going to have a really good May," says Parker. The season for cherries on the west coast is starting earlier this year, so you'll likely be getting your fix of sweet and sour cherries this month.
Avocados: May kicks off the season for summer salads, and avocados are an especially tasty topper. "We see an overlap in domestic and import avocado production in May," says Parker. "[Avocados] are in great quality." In places with more temperate climates, avocados can be in season all year round, but in the U.S. May is a good time to start looking for especially delicious fruits.