No matter the season, there is always a fruit or vegetable that is at its peak of freshness. In the colder months of the year, it can be a challenge to get the freshest produce, but knowing which vegetables and fruits to look for can make meal planning easier. Here are some tips for how to get fresh produce during fall and winter.

Look For Vibrant Colors:

It may be helpful to look for certain colors in your fruits and vegetables in the fall and winter season. Vegetables and fruits that are deep orange, red and dark green in color are usually in season during the fall and winter. These include oranges, brussels sprouts and beets. Pears and broccoli are also in season when the weather is cold. Purchasing these foods while they are in season increases the chances of freshness and also ensures the fruits or veggies will taste their best.

Higher Nutrients And Vitamins:

Fruits and vegetables are higher in vitamins and nutrients when they are in season as well. Keeping a chart of seasonal fruits and vegetables in the kitchen can also serve as a guideline. The list should be removable so it can travel to the grocery store for shoppers to refer to.

Local Farmer's Market:

Taking a trip to a local farmer's market can also increase the chances of getting fresh fall and winter produce. The vendors at the farmer's market usually work to ensure that their produce is extremely fresh, especially if certain crops are not readily available at local stores. For instance, all types of squash and apples are in season during the fall and winter. Some of these varieties are not at local grocery stores, but farmers in the area grow these crops. A number of small community farms may also grow their fall and winter produce without using pesticides or other harsh chemicals.

The fruits and vegetables from farmer's markets should be eaten within days of purchase to ensure freshness, or they can be frozen for a week or two to use in winter stews and soups. Searching through online community bulletin boards and asking family and friends can help shoppers to find farmer's markets that offer fresh produce.

Start A Home Garden:

Perhaps the most reliable way to get fresh produce in the winter and fall season is to start a home garden. Fruits such as pears and apples grow on trees, so the trees must be cultivated well before the season in order to yield fruit. Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes are in season in the fall and winter. The vegetables should be planted at least four months in advance, and need to grow in full sun to partial shade. There are some fall and winter crops that can be started indoors as well. For instance, Swiss chard can grow indoors until temperatures fall below 30 degrees celsius. Once the weather is cold enough, the crop can be transferred outdoors where it will continue to thrive. Growing a home garden is a great way to get organic fall and winter produce, and is one of the most practical ways to control the family's diet and eating habits.

These tips can ensure that the freshest fall and winter produce is consumed in season. It may also be helpful to speak with a local grocer about the best fruits and vegetables to purchase according to season.