Posted Jan 01, 2021
Better ingredients help you cook better food, and produce that’s in season where you live is generally better than produce that’s endured a journey of thousands of miles before reaching your kitchen.
You hear this advice again and again — in cookbooks, on cooking shows, in online articles. Simple enough, except as a city dweller, it’s not exactly obvious what’s in season and what’s not. There’s the oft-advised “look to see what’s on sale in your produce section,” but I’m not convinced. It tells you what the retailer wants to get rid of, possibly for any number of reasons, among them that the produce might be about to go bad — exactly the opposite of the desired outcome.
Thus began my quest to discover what is, in fact, in season here in western Washington state. Among the resources I found: the Washington State Department of Agriculture (PDF), PCC, Pick Your Own, The Spruce Eats, and Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets. Unfortunately, information varied from one source to the next, and wasn’t provided in a standard, easy-to-work-with format. You can’t sort a PDF, and it is no fun to hunt through an alphabetized list of more than 150 fruits and vegetables trying to find things marked in season for the current month. For some reason I couldn’t just find a list of “here’s what’s in season this month,” either.
So I created a unified Google Sheets spreadsheet. One sortable, filterable source of information to rule them all. Each source has their own tab / sheet, and within each sheet you can filter by month, sort by name, search, etc — all the things you can do with data in a spreadsheet.
I’ll also be posting throughout this year with a list each month of what ought to be in season.
(Obvious caveat: growing seasons aren’t set it stone and depend on weather, growing conditions and I’m sure many other factors. This is just a rough guide.)