Vegan Wonder

Unlock the Flavors of the Season: A Guide to Sourcing Local and Seasonal Vegan Produce

If you’re a vegan, you’re already making a positive impact on the environment and animal welfare with your food choices. But are you getting the most flavor and nutrition out of your veggies?

Eating locally and seasonally is a delicious way to enhance your plant-based diet, support your community, and reduce your carbon footprint. Here’s how to get started.

Why Eat Local and Seasonal?

When produce is grown locally, it doesn’t have to travel long distances, which reduces the carbon emissions associated with transportation. Eating seasonally means you’re consuming produce at the peak of its ripeness, so it’s more nutritious and delicious.

According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, locally grown produce has significantly higher levels of vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids, compared to produce that’s been shipped long distances.

Plus, you’re supporting local farmers and businesses when you buy from them. Every dollar you spend at a local business returns three to five times more money to your community, compared to spending money at national chains.

So, how do you find out what’s in season and where to buy it? Let’s dive in.

How to Get Involved

Farmers’ Markets and CSAs

Your first stop on the journey to local and seasonal eating should be your nearest farmers’ market. Here’s how to find one:

  1. Visit the American Farmers Market Association website to search for markets in your area.
  2. Check with your city’s city hall or county government for information on farmers’ markets in your area.

Many farmers’ markets now offer online ordering and curbside pickup, so you can still support local farmers even if you’re not comfortable shopping in person.

Another option is to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs are membership-based programs where you pay upfront for a share of the harvest from a local farm. In exchange, you receive a weekly or bi-weekly box of fresh produce throughout the growing season.

There are different models of CSAs, including:

  • The traditional model, where you receive whatever produce is in season during that week.
  • The “farmers’ choice” model, where the farm selects the produce for you.
  • The “member choice” model, where you get to select what’s in your box from a list of available produce.

Sign up for a CSA through the Local Harvest website, which has a searchable database of CSAs across the U.S. Many CSAs also offer discounts or work-trade opportunities for low-income families, so be sure to ask if this is an option.

Seasonal Vegan Produce Guide

Now that you know where to buy it, let’s talk about what to buy. Here’s a guide to seasonal vegan produce in the U.S.


  • Asparagus. Look for thick, uniform spears with closed tips. Cook by roasting, grilling, or steaming.
  • Peas. Fresh or frozen, peas are delicious in salads, stir-fries, and soups. Shelling peas takes longer than you think, so consider buying frozen.
  • Rhubarb. This tart vegetable is best known for pairing with strawberries in desserts. Cook with a small amount of sweetener to balance the tartness.


  • Tomatoes. Look for tomatoes that are fragrant, uniform in size, and free of bruises or cracks. Enjoy them fresh in salads, sandwiches, or on their own.
  • Zucchini. This versatile veggie can be grilled, roasted, or eaten raw. Slice it into salads or noodle dishes.
  • Berries. Look for berries that are firm, dry, and free of mold. Enjoy them fresh, in salads, or as a sweet treat.


  • Squash. Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and delicata are all delicious varieties. Roast whole, then scoop out the flesh and use in recipes.
  • Apples. Look for apples that are firm, free of bruises, and have a sweet aroma. Enjoy them fresh or in baked goods.
  • Leafy greens. Spinach, kale, chard, and lettuce are all in season in the fall. Cook or eat raw in salads, wraps, or smoothies.


  • Root vegetables. Carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, and radishes are all winter staples. Roast them or use in soups and stews.
  • Citrus fruits. Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and limes are all in season in the winter. Enjoy them fresh or in desserts.
  • Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all winter veggies. Cook them or eat them raw in salads.

Remember, these guides are general and can vary depending on your location. Ask your farmers or CSA what’s in season in your area.

Preserving the Harvest

One of the best things about eating seasonally is the opportunity to preserve the harvest for the off-season. Here are some techniques for preserving your produce:

Canning and Pickling

If you’re new to canning or pickling, start with simple recipes and easy-to-preserve produce, like:

  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has free, downloadable guides on canning and pickling, as well as other methods of preservation.

If you’re not comfortable canning or pickling at home, consider buying preserves from a local farmer or at a farmers’ market.

Freezing and Dehydrating

Freezing is a simple and effective way to preserve produce, especially if you have a large freezer. Blanch and freeze most vegetables, while berries and sliced stone fruits don’t need to be blanched.

Dehydrating is a great option for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can do it in the oven, on the stovetop, or with a dehydrator. Once dried, store in airtight containers for up to a year.

Recipes and Meal Ideas

Now that you know what to buy and how to preserve it, let’s talk about what to do with it. Here are some simple, delicious recipes and meal ideas for seasonal produce:

Connecting with Your Local Food Community

The best way to find and support local vegan farmers is to attend farmers’ markets and ask vendors if they grow vegan produce. Many farmers grow a mix of crops, so it’s important to ask.

You can also look for farms that specialize in vegan produce, like Vegan Farm in Washington state, which grows over 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables without the use of animal products. They even use veganic farming practices, which avoid the use of animal-derived fertilizers.

If you want to get more involved in the local food scene, look for local food events in your area, like farm-to-table dinners, cooking classes, and farmers’ market festivals. Many of these events support sustainable agriculture and local farmers.