Bananas from Ecuador, bell peppers from Holland, oranges from South Africa? Really?! We live in California, sunshine state, sandy beaches and purple mountains majesty. We can grow apples in our back yards, flowers in our window boxes, and trees that are perpetually leafy green.
Yet, walk into any grocery store in town, and you’ll likely find produce from anywhere but California, and it’s often out of season (Chilean mangos in December, really?).
Eating locally and in season is more difficult than it should be; tracking down locally grown apples in October can be difficult to find in your everyday Vons or Albertsons.
Instead, try combing the weekly farmer’s markets either on Coast Village road or State Street.
Farmer’s markets are great recourses for local produce hunters, as they offer a host of locally grown seasonal fruits and veggies.
Bakers, bee keepers, and florists also set up stalls at farmer’s markets, so you can pick up honey and a fresh baked baguette while produce shopping.
The downside of farmer’s markets, however, is that they’re largely early in the morning.
For those who enjoy their beauty sleep, locally owned small grocery stores are the best alternative. Grocery Stores in town like Lazy Acres and the Upper Village Market often carry locally grown produce year round for a reasonable price.
Feeling adventurous? Try growing your own produce! It’s easiest to buy small, partially grown plants from any nursery rather than starting from seed; the process is a bit quicker, and your plants are more likely to survive.
Try planting these seasonal fruits and veggies in the spring for a healthy summer harvest.
Figs- Figs trees thrive in hot, dry summers, and cool, wet winters. Plant your figs in the ground in full sun, watering them regularly during growing season, and taking care that the soil remains soft. When the fall arrives, it’s best to stop watering and allow the soil to dry. There are nearly thirty different varieties of known edible figs, but some of the best are the dark and sweet Mission figs, Brown Turkey figs, and Green Figs.
Eggplant- Eggplant needs warmth to grow, so plant your eggplant in full sun in plenty of rich soil or compost. Although there are many different types of eggplant, they all grow in largely the same climates, so feel free to experiment with new varieties. It’s best to plant them in the middle of spring, after the danger of cold snaps has passed, and the plants can thrive in full sun. When harvesting time comes, the skins turn glossy your eggplants are ready to eat.
Peaches- Peaches are incredibly rewarding to grow at home, and they adapt a sweet, tangy meat that’s incredible when warmed by the sun if you can get to them before the raccoons. Peach trees do grow quite large, so when considering planting one, it’s wise to allow up to five feet in diameter for the planting area of the tree. Use about eight ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer until the tree is around two years old.
Asparagus- Asparagus is one of the more simple vegetables to grow. Asparagus is best when planted roughly eight inches in the ground. Plant the crowns, and cover with two inches of soil. Keep your soil moist, and the asparagus should sprout in about two weeks. It’s best, however, to let the asparagus be for two years before harvesting for healthy veggies.
Corn- Corn is a great summer crop and looks beautiful in your garden. Make sure to water your corn from the base of the plant, and avoid overhead sprinklers, as corn is wind pollinated. Like peaches, corn also takes a large amount of garden space, so make sure to devote a large amount of land for your corn come planting season.