In Southern California, we’re fortunate enough to have long growing seasons and the freshest produce, all year round.
But seasonality is a phenomenon that drives the cycle of the harvest for our state and farms across the country.
Are you unfamiliar with harvest seasonality? Sit back, relax, and walk with us through the phenomenon that largely dictates how and when we consume our farm-grown food. Read on to discover the concept of seasonality.
What is Seasonality?
Seasonality is the concept that our production and consumption of agricultural goods is relatively predictable. It’s linked to the production cycle or the time in between big harvest events.
For most of what we consume this cycle follows a 12 month calendar period that stretches across the four seasons we experience.
Supply & Demand
Seasonality is also based off of changes in supply and demand. This stems from two factors: harvest lows and post-harvest peaks.
Most of the crops grown in our country have a single harvest season. During their harvest season, all of these crops become available for purchase. The market is then saturated with the full crop supply. But, this is for a relatively short amount of time.
Eventually, this supply becomes depleted and the cycle circles back to a harvest low again for that type of crop.
But, like all things in life, nothing is perfect. Every year there are seasonal changes that affect supply and demand. Not only do these fluctuations impact the supply and demand of crops, they also influence crop prices.
Why Does Seasonal Make Sense?
Eating fruits and vegetables when they are in-season may actually be more beneficial for your health. Harvesting food at its nutrient-rich peak can not only provide your body with the nutrients it needs for essential well-being, it can also give your body what it needs for specific times, or seasons, of the year.
For example, juicy fruits, like peaches or nectarines, are in-season in the summer, when your body is hot, sweating and in need of foods with greater water content. In the winter, starchy vegetables are in-season because our bodies need comforting and energy-dense foods to survive the change in temperature.
What’s more is that in-season crops, fruits, and vegetables can also have a higher nutrient content when picked at peak ripeness. Once the produce has been harvested, it starts a process where it deteriorates and eventually breaks down the vital nutrients our bodies need.
In other words, time is essential to getting the most from your produce. Food that is shipped long distances, or picked during its off-season can lose its nutritional benefit.
A great way to buy seasonal produce is to shop at your local farmers’ markets or grocery stores that get their produce from local farms.
You can also participate in the harvest of your local farms through community-supported agriculture programs (CSA’s). These programs give you easy access to fresh produce throughout the year. They’re also a great way to connect with your farmers and food source!
What’s in Season Now in San Diego?
Here’s a quick breakdown of what typically is in-season in San Diego now.
June: Peaches, grapefruit, plum apricots, avocados, corn, Valencia oranges, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, boysenberries, sweet onions, blackberries
July: Melons, sweet corn, Valencia oranges, avocados, tomatoes, beans, grapefruit, raspberries, potatoes, onions, peppers, figs
August: Sweet corn, grapefruit, plums, apricots, avocados, tomatoes, beans, carrots, cucumbers, squash, raspberries, boysenberries, apples, blackberries, figs, peaches
September: Melons, sweet corn, Valencia oranges, grapefruit, peaches, plums, avocados, tomatoes, grapes, squash, carrots, beans, cucumbers, potatoes, raspberries, apples, onions, peppers, figs
Get inspired! Try out this 3 ingredient recipe from Epicurious.
The Farm at North River Farms will incorporate the importance of seasonality into its harvest. Stay tuned to learn more about what’s planned for North River Farms!
North River Farms is an upcoming community in Oceanside that aims to inspire a healthier lifestyle by being a sustainable, agriculturally connected neighborhood. Our mission is to have a positive impact on the health and happiness of our future residents, Oceanside, and surrounding communities. Find us on social to connect with us today!