Agriculture makes me sentimental. You’re telling me every season brings a new crop of delicious treats? You’re telling me eating seasonally is a way to connect with local farming traditions? It’s enough to get me choked up. If you ask me, summer fruit is the best example of hyper-seasonal products. Yes, you can purchase most fruits year-round in U.S. grocery stores—but there’s something wonderful about waiting until peak peach season, gorging yourself for a few weeks, and then saying goodbye until next year. With that in mind, here’s a quick month-by-month guide to enjoying your favorite summer fruits.
Per the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberries “thrive under clear blue skies, with hot days and cool nights.” For most of the country, those conditions begin in late May or early June, though some warmer areas will begin the blueberry harvest as early as April. Lucky for us berry heads, the blueberry harvest often lasts until mid-to-late September. That means lots of opportunities for cobbler.
The Washington Post has a great guide to stone fruit season, which starts in late May and runs all the way through October if we’re lucky. Depending on your region, you’ll typically see peaches first, often as early as May, although I usually wait until late June to bite into one. Apricots, plums, and nectarines follow, hitting the produce section throughout June and July. All excellent candidates for a summer trifle.
Eckert’s, the company behind a string of U-Pick farms in the Midwest, has a solid guide to strawberry seasonality. The guide says this:
“In the far north and in Canada, the peak time will normally be in late June. The natural growing season in Illinois and through most of the country is April through June.”
Eckert’s also notes that peak harvest season only lasts about three weeks, so if you’re getting your berries from a local farmer, enjoy them while they last.
Modern Farmer advises blackberry fans to purchase berries in June and July, when you’re more likely to find plump, shiny berries. (The site notes that a blackberry’s dull color is “a good sign of its age.”)
Per The Spruce Eats, sweet cherry season typically starts around mid-June, and bags of the fat, juicy fruits are abundant in the produce section through mid-to-late August. Keep in mind that sweetness can vary from week to week; if you don’t want to risk a bitter batch, you might be better off purchasing cherries mid-season in July.