In a perfect world, berries would be in season everywhere year round. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but in our imperfect world, there’s a simple way to still find your fruit fix while avoiding outrageous prices. Aside from frequenting farmers markets to find fresh produce at great prices, you also might want to consider shopping based on the season. This isn’t a novel idea. Plenty of restaurants have a seasonal menu that they adjust based on what’s in season and on the market. Yet the average consumer doesn’t consider implementing this practice in his or her home.
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries alike are known for being delicate. As a result, shopping by season and locations helps to ensure that you find the best products. That’s not to say they won’t have the occasional blemish. As David Lebovitz says, “Beautiful, just-picked berries are easy to spot. There’s a simultaneous perfection/imperfection to them, distinguishing them from the all-perfect-all-the-time ones sold year-round in our grocery stores.” The occasional bruised berry is nothing to fear. Consider it proof of quality and natural nature. In a fresh or organic batch, there’s always going to be a few flaws.
As Noelle Carter says, “Availability will vary depending on the type of berry, with most generally available from late spring through early fall; mulberries are typically found through the beginning of summer.” If you want natural quality berries year round, remember you also have an assortment of options for preserving your berries. As Lebovitz explains, “It’s easy to freeze berries, and if you have a big enough freezer, it’s one of the best flavors to capture and keep for winter when a batch of muffins or pancakes made with defrosted local blueberries will be a real treat.” Keep jams and canning in mind as well.
While stateside, Spring and Summer tend to be the best season to shop for most berries. That being said, many vendors import from other locales. For example, here at Elite Farms, we import fruits and vegetables from across the globe so we can provide our clients and retailers with fresh produce year round. One month, our berries might come from a farm in California and the next from Florida or Mexico all so we can provide our customers with the freshest and highest quality products.
If you need a little help with the berry timeline – check out this super helpful infographic from berries.com.