Seasonal ingredients can be found in Sonoma County all year round. October through December is known for the harvest of dark leafy green vegetables, Gourds like squash and melons, root vegetables and citrus fruits. Numerous other crops such as lemongrass, basil, dates and burdock are ample during the autumn and winter in Northern California. Seasonal Ingredients can provide diversity and nutrient density while supporting local Sonoma County businesses and farms.
Where can I find seasonal produce in Sonoma County?
Produce can be found at numerous local farmers markets, farms and neighborhood stores. North Bay stores which carry seasonal and local produce include Oliver’s Market, Imwalle’s gardens, and the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers market on Friday mornings. Farm Trails is a valuable resource for Sonoma county residents. Farm trails brings Sonoma County residents and farmers together each year by offering the opportunity for residents to explore participating local farms and ranches.
Why should I buy seasonal produce?
Purchasing seasonal food has its benefits nutritionally and helps to support local businesses. Seasonal foods have been shown to contain more or less nutrients depending on the time of year harvested. In one study, spinach was shown to contain double the vitamin C content when harvested in winter compared to spring (Philips, 2018). The study also demonstrated large fluctuations in nutrients for vegetables like broccoli, oranges and apples! These results show the importance of choosing seasonal crops. Spinach and apples which are naturally harvested during the autumn to winter seasons contain higher amounts of Vitamin C which helps boost immunity and protects against winter colds.
Smaller scale production of food also means less greenhouse gas emissions related to production, processing and transportation (Macdiarmid, 2014). By picking local and seasonal ingredients, you are not only helping your community but the environment! Sonoma County has a reputation for supporting its local economy, and in turn, Sonoma County families. By purchasing local and seasonal produce you are contributing to small businesses, local workers, and residents alike.
Seasonal foods are a great way to add diversity to the dinner table. Seasonal crops can add new aromas, flavors and consistencies to meals. For example, lemongrass is a type of grass used in asian cooking. It can be used in dishes to enhance lemon flavor and aroma. Dates are also available seasonally and can be used as an alternative to sugar in holiday recipes.
Autumn & Winter Foods and Their Nutrients:
Autumn and winter produce like dark leafy greens contain high amounts of Iron, folate and calcium. An article by Tuft University has shown that these dark leafy green vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants (Tufts University, 2005***). These antioxidants have been shown to protect against UV damage and the formation of Cataracts in elderly adults. Gourds like squash and pumpkin are other foods which are ready to be harvested during the autumn season. These crops are low in calories and high in Vitamin A and potassium. Once harvested, squash can last for up to six months in proper storage conditions (Tuft, 2014). Root vegetables are also available during the autumn and winter months. Root vegetables are starchy vegetables which contain high amounts of carbohydrates. When used in moderation and prepared without excess fats.oils, these vegetables can be a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C (slavin, 2013***).
Antioxidants from dark, leafy greens protect against cataracts.(Brief Article). (2005). Tufts
University Health & Nutrition Letter, p. 2.
Beyond pumpkin: Harvest the health benefits of winter squash: Economical and easy to prepare,
they're packed with fiber and vitamin A. (2014). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 32(9), 6.
Imwalles Garden. (2019). Sonoma County Tourism. Retrieved From:
Macdiarmid, J. (2014). Seasonality and dietary requirements: Will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? 73(3), 368-375.
Moran, Sarah (2018) Personal Recipe: Garlic Mushroom Dark Leafy Green Sautée
Phillips, K., Tarrago‐Trani, M., McGinty, R., Rasor, A., Haytowitz, D., & Pehrsson, P. (2018).
Seasonal Variability of the Vitamin C Content of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in a Local Retail Market. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 98(11), 4191-4204.
Oliver’s Market. (2019). Produce. Retrieved from:
Slavin J. L. (2013). Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and resistant starch in white vegetables: links to health outcomes. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 4(3), 351S–5S. doi:10.3945/an.112.003491
Sonoma County Farm Trails Map. 2019. Sonoma County Tourism. Retrieved From:
Seasonal Food Guide: California. (2019). Natural Resources Defense Counsel.
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.