It was only a generation ago that going to the grocery store in summer guaranteed you would be buying locally grown fruits and vegetables. This isn’t always the case anymore. Large chain grocery and big box stores do not consider locally grown produce as a priority. Unless they can get it for the best price, they may not stock it, arguing that the consumer wants the best price on product available. Or, they may stock the local produce but will continue to stock the imported counterpart at a much cheaper price. This often means that although it may be raspberry season in your area, you only have the option to buy raspberries shipped from California or, if available, the local ones will seem staggeringly expensive compared to the imported ones.
It isn’t impossible to buy locally grown products. Most cities and towns have farmer’s markets and smaller grocers often carry the fresh local products. Just being aware of what is in season, and when, can help you know that there is a local alternative to your chosen produce. Of course, this depends on what part of Canada you happen to be living. But, for the most part, options are pretty endless throughout the country. And if you are visiting another province this summer, be sure to try some of their wonderful produce.
One of the best provinces for fruit. BC boasts cherries and peaches that are simply amazing. This province can also claim fame to the fact that they are the 2nd largest producer of blueberries worldwide. Look for blueberries from June to September and cherries from late June to August. With Kelowna having some of the best wines, grapes are also a wonderful treat for those in BC.
With a relatively short growing season, everything tends to come in at once. Look for asparagus from mid May through June. Peas start showing up as early as June as do green onions. Radishes start by early June and are available right through August. Alberta is also the biggest sugar beat producer in Canada so you are pretty guaranteed to get locally grown beats.
This province has some of the most amazing berries. Here you will find currants, bushberries, Pincherries and Saskatoon berries. These berries can make for some amazing jams and jellies. Saskatoon berries are only available from mid to end of July.
If you live in Manitoba you will be able to buy all the staple vegetables during summer season. This includes peas and carrots and lettuce and asparagus. With a typical growing season. Asparagus is available from May and most other produce comes in season between beginning for July to early August
With the Niagara region so centrally located to a large portion of the population, Ontarions get the treat of peaches every summer. The Niagara region also has great grapes and nectarines.
When it comes to vegetables, Quebec has a crazy amount of produce available. Again, the season is short but plentiful. The cape gooseberry or ground cherry, which is native to Peru, is widely available at small markets in this province. Sweet and nutty. They are a must try.
Another Canadian province with a short season, regular vegetables can be found from late may through August. You can find fiddleheads in early spring. This vegetable, shaped like the top of a violin, are from the fern family. They have a very short season and are a true delicacy.
This province also has fiddleheads and dandelion greens. It has been said that New Brunswick brussel sprouts are amazing. They are available from late September to early November
The Annapolis Valley is synonymous with apples but this valley also has some of the greatest pears you will ever taste.
Prince Edward Island
When you think PEI you think potatoes of course. But, PEI has many vegetables throughout the summer season including rutabagas and carrots and their specialty fruits include gooseberrys and black currants.