What's In Season in Phoenix

A Month-by-Month Guide to Fruits and Vegetables

It's easy to find fresh fruits and vegetables all year long in the Phoenix area. Local restaurants that embrace a philosophy of supporting local agriculture will be incorporating these items in their seasonal menus. You might even try growing edible items in your own garden. In any case, even if you never eat out and don't have space for a vegetable garden, you can find the following fruits and vegetables in local grocery stores and farmers' markets. Create your own farm-to-table masterpiece!

  • 01 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, December and January

    Veggies from the Garden
    ••• Veggies from the Garden. Judy Hedding

    Winter is citrus season in the Valley of the Sun. Oranges and grapefruit overfill the produce bins. Keen shoppers keep an eye out for the more unusual citrus varieties such as clementines, tangelos, cara cara and blood oranges, pummelos and Meyer lemons.

    Our farmers' markets are in full swing with an abundance of lettuces, leafy greens and winter herbs. Leeks make their first appearance, along with cabbages, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Root veggies such as beets, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas increase in sweetness as the weather turns colder.

    Adopted foods such as peas, lentils and wheat grow on native farms nourished by the gentle winter rains.

    Here's what you can find during December and January at the farmers' markets and in your own vegetable garden in the Greater Phoenix area.

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season in December and January

    • Arugula
    • Beets
    • Bok choy and other Asian greens
    • Broccoli
    • Broccoli raab
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage (green, red and Asian varieties)
    • Cauliflower
    • Carrots
    • Ce...MORElery
    • Cilantro
    • Clementines
    • Dill
    • Grapefruit (all varieties)
    • Green onions (bunching onions and I'itoi)
    • Greens (collards, dandelion, escarole, mustard, rapini, Swiss chard)
    • Kale (Tuscan and Russian)
    • Kohlrabi
    • Leeks
    • Lemons (first Meyers, then Lisbons)
    • Lettuce (baby mix and other varieties)
    • Oranges (Blood, Cara Cara, Navel and Valencia)
    • Parsnips
    • Radishes
    • Rutabaga
    • Spinach
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tangelos
    • Turnips

    Comments from the About.com Phoenix Expert:

    If you have a vegetable garden and /or citrus trees in your own yard you will be happily harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables for your family for every meal. Even though Phoenix is located in the desert, it can get cold during December evenings and it is important to protect your fruit and vegetable plants and trees from frost. Here are some tips for plant frost protection.

    You can probably start picking citrus from your trees in December, but they will continue to improve in flavor over the next few months. Over the years, citrus trees will tend to produce more fruit than any one normal-sized family can consume. This is the time to remember your neighbors, your local senior center and service people who regularly come to your home, like the pest control guy, postal delivery person and yard service people. Various local communities also have citrus collection drives each year top help out those people who needs nutritious foods for their family.

    Don't leave vegetables, fruits or citrus on the garden too long after ripening. As they get overripe they are susceptible to being nibbled on by local wildlife and insects. Rotting fruit may also attract roof rats. That's not a good thing!

  • 02 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, February and March

    Grapefruit
    ••• Judy Hedding

    February and March bring the end of our local citrus and the last of the navels, blood oranges and tangelos. (You will find Valencia oranges and grapefruit into April and beyond.) This is also the time to enjoy the last of the root vegetables (beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc.) and the brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) which have all been sweetened by the winter cold.

    Cold weather will slow down the growth of greens and lettuces. As daylight lengthens and the weather warms, production will increase.

    In March, citrus blossoms perfume the Valley and their scent heralds the arrival of fresh orange blossom honey. The first of the late spring crops such as green garlic and asparagus may make an appearance depending on the weather.

    For traditional foods, this is agave roasting time.

    Here's what you can find during February and March at the farmers' markets in the Greater Phoenix area.

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season: February and March

    • Arugula
    • Asparagus
    • Beets
    • Bok choy and other Asian...MORE greens
    • Broccoli
    • Broccoli raab
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage (green, red and Asian varieties)
    • Cauliflower
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Cilantro
    • Clementines
    • Dill
    • Garlic (green)
    • Grapefruit (all varieties)
    • Green onions (bunching onions and I'itoi)
    • Greens (collards, dandelion, escarole, mustard, rapini, Swiss chard)
    • Kale (Tuscan and Russian)
    • Kohlrabi
    • Leeks
    • Lemons
    • Lettuce (baby mix and other varieties)
    • Oranges (Blood, Cara Cara, Navel and Valencia)
    • Parsnips
    • Radishes
    • Rutabaga
    • Spinach
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tangelos
    • Turnips
  • 03 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, April and May

    Peas!
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Late spring brings the transition from the traditional winter crops of greens and roots to the first summer delights of peaches, sweet onions, new potatoes and early tomatoes.

    In April, look for the wonderful, but fleeting few weeks when peas (sugar snap and pod peas), fava beans, finger-sized baby leeks and the last of the asparagus are available. In May, celebrate the arrival of local Arizona sweet onions. While proper storage can extend their shelf life, they are best consumed shortly after harvest.

    Check with your local farmer on the status of the stone fruit (peach, apricot, nectarine) crop. The bounty (or lack thereof) from these trees is very dependent on the winter weather and its cold, heat and moisture.

    Prickly pear pads and the edible flowers of certain native plants are harvested at this time. Here's what you can find during April and May at the farmers' markets in the greater Phoenix area:

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season: April and May

    • Apricots
    • Arugula
    • Asparagus
    • Basil
    • Beets
    • C...MOREarrots
    • Fava Beans
    • Garlic
    • Green onions (bunching onions and I'itoi)
    • Greens (collards, dandelion, escarole, mustard, rapini, Swiss chard)
    • Leeks
    • Lettuce (baby mix and other varieties)
    • Nectarines
    • Onions (Red, Yellow, Grilling and Arizona Sweet)
    • Peaches
    • Peas (sugar snap, pod)
    • Potatoes
    • Radishes
    • Spinach
    • Summer squash (baby and blossoms)
    • Tomatoes
    • Thyme
    • Zucchini
  • 04 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, June and July

    Melon from the Garden
    ••• Melon from the Garden. Judy Hedding

    You can find strawberries in December or mangoes in July at your local Phoenix area grocery store, but if you are looking for locally grown produce, you must eat with the seasons. Here in the Valley of the Sun we can grow fruits and vegetables all year round, so there's always something available.

    If you are used to the growing seasons in other parts of the country, you may not know what to expect at our local farmers' markets. Tomatoes are a good example. Field tomatoes are harvested in early summer in Arizona. Since tomatoes stop setting blossoms at 90°F, we don't see the late end-of-summer tomatoes you find in many other parts of the country unless they have been raised in one of our Arizona greenhouses. Early summer is the time to enjoy local field tomatoes as the crop peaks through June.

    Here's what you can find during June and July at the farmers' markets in the greater Phoenix area.

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season: June and July

    • Apples (Annas are the first to...MORE ripen)
    • Apricots
    • Basil (many varieties)
    • Black-eyed peas
    • Chiles
    • Corn
    • Cucumbers (slicers, Armenian, lemon)
    • Eggplant
    • Figs (early crop)
    • Garlic
    • Grapes
    • Green Beans
    • Leeks
    • Melons (Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Musk, etc.)
    • Nectarines
    • Okra
    • Onions (Red, Yellow, Grilling and Arizona Sweet)
    • Peaches
    • Peppers
    • Pinto Beans
    • Plums
    • Potatoes
    • Rosemary
    • Summer Squash
    • Sunflowers
    • Tomatoes
    • Watermelon (also Yellow and Seedless)
    • Winter Squash
    • Zucchini
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, August and September

    Green Chile Peppers
    ••• Green Chile Peppers. ©Judy Hedding

    Late summer is the quiet time for local fruits and vegetables. It is the transition between the summer veggies (cucumbers, eggplant, squash) and the cooler weather fall vegetables to come. Many farmers use this time to clean up their fields and to prepare and plant them with the fall crop.

    While the Valley is winding down, the cooler and higher elevation areas in Southeastern and Northern Arizona are coming into high season. You'll see peaches, apples, tomatoes, corn and other offerings from farms in these areas. This is a great time to travel to Prescott, Flagstaff and the Willcox area for their farmers' markets and u-pick operations.

    September is the peak season for chile heads. Follow your nose to find fresh, fire-roasted green chiles from Southern Arizona and New Mexico. Small produce stands and large Mexican markets will be happy to supply you with huge sacks of blistered, blackened, highly aromatic chiles and long strings of fresh red chile ristras.

    Here's what you can...MORE find during August and September at the farmers' markets in the greater Phoenix area.

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season: August and September

    • Apples
    • Arugula
    • Basil (many varieties)
    • Black-eyed peas
    • Chard
    • Chiles
    • Cucumbers (slicers, Armenian, lemon)
    • Eggplant
    • Figs (late crop)
    • Italian Parsley
    • Melons (Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Musk, Water)
    • Okra
    • Peaches
    • Peppers
    • Summer Squash (and blossoms)
    • Winter Squash (Spaghetti, Acorn, Butternut)
  • 06 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season, October and November

    Green Onions!
    ••• Green Onions!. Judy Hedding

    Fall is a special time for produce in the Valley. Our seasonal farmers' markets reopen in October and the first of the season's baby vegetables make their debut. Look for tiny carrots, slender green onions, delicate radishes, baby beets and miniature turnips. Freshly harvested dates provide a touch of sweetness.

    At the end of the month, pumpkins abound and corn mazes beckon at the Valley's farm events.

    In November, as the heat of summer finally dissipates, greens such as lettuces, arugula, collards, kale and spinach flourish. Key limes arrive for their short season, heralding the start of the Valley citrus season.

    This is harvest time for native foods planted during the summer monsoon including tepary beans, squash and melons. The last of the red, ripe prickly pear fruits can be carefully collected for their magenta juice.

    Here's what you can find during October and November at the farmers' markets in the greater Phoenix area.

    Fruits and Vegetables in Season: October and...MORE November

    • Arugula
    • Basil
    • Beets
    • Bok choy and other Asian greens
    • Carrots
    • Chard
    • Cilantro
    • Corn
    • Dates
    • Eggplant
    • Figs
    • Gourds
    • Green beans
    • Green onions (bunching onions and I'itoi)
    • Kale (Tuscan and Russian)
    • Key limes
    • Lettuce (baby mix and other varieties)
    • Peppers
    • Radishes
    • Spinach
    • Tomatoes
    • Turnips
    • Winter squash (spaghetti, acorn, butternut, etc.)
    • Zucchini