Vegetables are a staple as snacks and on the dinner table year-round. They are affordable and versatile, and many of them are available locally during all four seasons. Check out our guide below to explore vegetables in season right now in Pennsylvania.
Why Eat Vegetables in Season Right Now?
In general, vegetables are less picky about their growing conditions and have better availability year-round. That being said, there are still peak seasons for vegetables in Pennsylvania and the rest of the northeast. Here are some reasons to buy vegetables by season:
- Growing vegetables during their peak seasons creates better, more micronutrient-rich produce. This means they may be higher in vitamins that are good for your body.
- Seasonal vegetables are cheaper for farmers to grow, which means they will likely be cheaper for you as well. This means you can buy higher volumes and varieties of produce.
- Vegetables grown in season simply taste better! There’s a reason that many restaurants focus their menus on local, in-season produce — they give maximum flavor for the value.
How to Choose The Best Vegetables
Vegetables are much more forgiving than fruits when it comes to ripeness and have a longer freshness window. While vegetables have individual signs that they’re ready to eat, you should generally look for:
- Even texture
- Consistent color
- Uniform firmness
- No give when squeezed
Cooking with Vegetables
While you may think steamed broccoli and cooked spinach are boring, there are tons of innovative ways to prepare veggies. Check out some of our favorite methods for cooking with vegetables, from sauteing to deep-frying.
Raw veggies have tons of micronutrients and a unique crunch that can satisfy cravings for other carb-heavy snacks. If carrots and ranch aren’t your thing, try broccoli with Greek yogurt dip, bell pepper strips with hummus, or local tomatoes with salt and pepper. Just make sure to rinse or wash your vegetables first, and let them dry before eating for maximum crunch.
Boiled & Steamed
Boiling and steaming vegetables makes them tender and brings out their natural colors. Boiling cooks the vegetables directly in water, while steaming relies on the steam that the boiling water puts off. Both options are great for broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and asparagus.
Sauteed & Stir-Fried
Sauteing and stir-frying both involve cooking vegetables in a small amount of oil in a pan. The difference is that stir-frying uses higher heat and cooks the vegetables much faster. Both methods add flavor and color to vegetables like peppers, zucchini, green beans, onions, and asparagus.
Roasted & Baked
Roasting and baking are common methods of cooking vegetables because they require very little supervision. A quick flip halfway through is all you’ll need for perfectly browned, caramelized tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, and squash.
Air and Oil-Fried
Frying vegetables sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but with air and oil-frying options, you can find the perfect balance of flavor and nutrition. Air frying offers a healthier option, but traditional oil-frying will make delicious treats to be eaten in moderation.
Grilled vegetables are a summer favorite in many families. The heat caramelizes the veggies for a unique smoky flavor that is hard to imitate. In addition to cooking meat on your grill, try artichokes, avocados, asparagus, and tomatoes.
Vegetable Buying Guide
There are so many benefits to buying local vegetables in season right now from your local market. Here are some of the vegetables you can expect to see each season.
Winter Seasonal Vegetables
While many fruits go out of season in the winter, this is the time of year when vegetables shine. The colder months bring ripe root vegetables that are perfect for comfort food favorites, from broccoli cheese soup to sweet potato casserole. Here are a few PA-local seasonal vegetables you’ll find in winter:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Red Beets
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti)
Spring Seasonal Vegetables
Warmer weather brings bright leafy greens and other vegetables. Paired with spring fruits like strawberries and tomatoes, they make for delicious spring salads. Here are some of the vegetables that can be found locally in-season in spring:
- Green Zucchini
- Leaf Lettuce (Red and Green)
- Romaine Lettuce (Red and Green)
- Spring Onions
- Spring Mix
- Sugar Peas
- Yellow Zucchini
Summer Seasonal Vegetables
Summer brings a bounty of local produce from all over Pennsylvania. Both fruits and vegetables flourish thanks to rainy spring weather and warmer temperatures. Check out the wide variety of vegetables in-season in the summertime:
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Summer Squash
- Sweet Corn
Fall Seasonal Vegetables
While fruit yields dwindle in the fall, there are tons of fall vegetables ready for the picking. Here are a few to look out for in your local farmer’s market:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Cabbage
- Red Beets
- Red Cabbage
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
How Many In-Season Vegetables Can You Try?
With our printable checklist, you can keep track of how many in-season vegetables that you and your family can cross off. See if you can check off all of them this year!