Winter Seasonal Produce
Shopping for seasonal produce can be a challenge, but it also provides significant benefits to you and your community. By supporting local farmers, you are also supporting the businesses and workers in your community. Additionally, the food itself is often fresher, better tasting, and more delicious. Local produce is more likely to be given the chance to fully ripen on its parent plant, rather than picked early and ripened by other means. It can also be more affordable as local produce tends to cost less to transport.
We are fortunate to be situated in a very agriculturally rich region, so fresh, local produce is much more abundant year-round than in some other parts of the country. Washington state alone has over 15 million acres of farmland, making it one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the United States. Second Harvest maintains close partnerships with local farmers in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho to ensure our clients receive the best local produce possible. To help you buy and use more seasonal fruits and vegetables this winter, we put together this guide to some of our favorite winter produce.
Apples are one of Washington’s top agricultural products, and are also an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C. Apples can usually be found year round, making them one of the most abundant local produce items in our area.
Despite not always being the most popular choice, brussels sprouts are a great choice for a seasonal winter vegetable. They are a good source of a variety of different vitamins and nutrients including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate (Vitamin B9), beta-carotene, and fiber.
While not technically a fruit or vegetable, mushrooms are still a key source of local produce in the winter. They are a great source of B vitamins (B2, B3, B5, and B9), phosphorus, Vitamin D, selenium, copper, and potassium. There are a wide variety of kinds and sizes to choose from, so give them a chance the next time you’re at the store!
Potatoes are famously known as a product of Idaho, but a significant amount of potatoes are grown in Washington as well. They are extremely versatile and a source of Vitamin C and potassium. Potatoes are a starchy vegetable, meaning they are lower in fiber than some other vegetables, but provide an excellent source of energy and a feeling of fullness. Choosing to leave the skins on your potatoes whenever possible increases the amount of fiber and vitamins.
For a helpful month-by-month produce seasonality tool, visit: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/state/washington
By: Emily Menshew, Nutrition Education Associate