2008 Year in Review: A Year of Seasonal Produce in New England

It’s no secret that our growing season in the northeast is a short one.  New England has its last frost some time around the end of April by the coast and early June in the mountains and first frost can be any time from early September to the end of October.  This year many crops were hurt by some early ice storms.  Other crops did very well with the many days of rain early on in the season.

Here is a look at what a year’s worth of New England climate can give us for seasonal produce.  You will eat better and more “budget-friendly” if you eat seasonally.  Don’t let that stop you from an occasional indulgence in strawberries mid-winter.  We have a couple jars of freezer jam in the fridge from our fabulous crop of strawberries that grew early this summer.

I have linked some of the produce below to recipes for your enjoyment.

Spring

Vegetables: asparagus , beets , broccoli , cabbage , cauliflower , fiddleheads , garlic greens , greens , arugula , beet , bok choy , chard , collard , cress , dandelion , kale , mizuna , mustard greens , sorrel (the French make a great sorrel soup), tat soi , turnip , lettuce , mushrooms , parsnips , peas – snap and snow (the other favourite spring treat especially English peas) , radishes , rhubarb (one of my favourite spring treats) , spinach ,  sprouts

Fruit: apples , strawberries

Herbs: chives , cilantro , dill , marjoram , mint, oregano , parsley , sage , thyme

Summer

Vegetables: beets (Patricia Wells has a fabulous raw beet salad), broccoli , cabbage , carrots , cauliflower , celery , cucumbers , eggplant endive , fennel , garlic , green beans , kohlrabi (early in the season), lettuce , mushrooms , okra, onions – red and yellow , peppers – hot and sweet , potatoes – new , radicchio , scallions, sprouts , summer squash , sweet corn , tomatoes,tomatillos

Fruit: apricots (delish on puff pastry for a tart) ,blackberries , blueberries , cherries , currants , elderberries , gooseberries (great for jam), melons , nectarines , peaches , plums (also great for a puff pastry tart), raspberries

Herbs: basil , cilantro (also known as coriander), dill , marjoram , mint , parsley , rosemary , savory , tarragon

Fall

Vegetables: beets , broccoli , brussels sprouts , burdock (gobo) , cabbage , carrots* , cauliflower , celeriac , daikon*, fennel , garlic*, greens : arugula , bok choy , chard , collard , kale , mustard greens , mizuna, tat soi , and turnip , horseradish*, kohlrabi , leeks , lettuce , mushrooms , onions – red and yellow*, parsley , parsnips , potatoes*, pumpkins , radishes , rutabaga , scallions ., shallots*, sprouts , sweet potatoes ,  turnips , winter squash*

*This is the peak season for vegetables and fruit marked with a *, however they can be stored fairly long term in the proper conditions to be eaten throughout the seasons.

Fruit: apples* , apple cider*, Asian pears , cranberries , grapes , pears*, quince , raspberries

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.

Winter

Vegetables: beets, burdock (gobo), cabbage, carrots, celeriac, daikon1, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke,, Early in the season:  kale, kohlrabi, and leeks, mushrooms, onions – red and yellow, parsnips, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash

Fruit: apples*, apple cider*

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.

Recipes:  grilled seasonal vegetable pizzaoven roasted ratatouillealmond apricot tart,strawberry freezer jamrhubarb crisppotato gratin

For more info: The Northeast Regional Food Guide,Eating Seasonally

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