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Eat Fresh All Year Long: A Guide to New Zealand's Seasonal Produce

April 30, 2023
7 min read

ℹ️ Want to know what fruit and vegetables are in season right now? We've got you covered.

Thanks to New Zealand's unique and dynamic climate, each season brings a variety of delicious fruit and vegetables with it. Eating fresh, seasonal produce is not only great for our health, being full of nutrients, minerals & antioxidants, it's also benefits the environment and our local economy.

And while those reasons alone should push you to eat seasonally, the key benefit for many around New Zealand right now is β€” it's cheaper.

If you, like most of us, are looking to cut down on the grocery bill, eating seasonally is more important than ever. But it can be hard to keep track of each and every piece of fruit and veg. We don't blame you.

If you're constantly asking yourself 'what fruit and veg is in season?', you're in luck. We've broken this down for you! So...

What's in season in autumn?

All autumn produce

Fruit:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Feijoas
  • Honeydew Melon
  • (Gold) Kiwifruit
  • Limes
  • Mandarins
  • Nectarines
  • Passionfruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Rock Melon
  • Watermelon

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Butternut
  • Cabbage
  • Capsicum
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • KΕ«mara
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Swedes
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips

Autumn brings cooler temperatures and shorter days, which signals to some fruits and vegetables that it's time to ripen and be harvested.

Apples, feijoas, figs, grapes, pears, and quinces are some of the fruits that are in season during this time. These crops cope well in cooler temperatures and can withstand the light frost that sometimes occurs during autumn. And yes, tomatoes kinda also count in this.

Vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, garlic, kumara, pumpkin, and squash also thrive in autumn's cooler weather and can be harvested in abundance.

Autumn's most affordable picks πŸ‚

  • Apples 🍏
    Autumn brings about New Zealand's apple harvesting season, peaking between March and May, making them abundantly available during this time. With a surplus of apples available the prices tend to drop, making them one of the most affordable fruits during this time.
  • Pumpkins πŸŽƒ
    As the weather starts to cool, a warming, wholesome bowl of pumpkin soup or stew becomes a staple (for me, at least). Due to their hard skin, pumpkins keep very well, making them available throughout the year. But, like most produce, are at their peak just after harvesting in autumn!
  • Kiwifruit πŸ₯
    While kiwifruit are also available year-round, autumn is when the fruit is at its peak of flavor and abundance. And again, due to good old supply and demand, makes them very affordable.

What's in season in winter?

All winter produce

Fruit:

  • Feijoas
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mandarins
  • Oranges
  • Passionfruit

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • KΕ«mara
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Swedes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams

It won't come as a suprise saying this... winter in New Zealand can get pretty cold. And dark, too. Two conditions that most plants (fruit and vegetables included) don't particularly like to grow in. This unfortunately increases our reliance on imported, frozen or otherwise stored produce during these months.

Luckily, there are still a few hardy crops which grow even in our chillier climate. Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, and oranges, are at their best during winter, as they need cooler weather to ripen properly.

Root vegetables like parsnips, potatoes, swedes, and turnips are also in season during winter, as they can grow in the cooler soil and withstand the frost.

Winter's most affordable picks ❄️

  • Broccoli πŸ₯¦
    While broccoli can be planted throughout the year, it grows the best during the mid-summer, making it prime for a winter harvest. Due to the prime summer-growing conditions, broccoli harvested from this crop is often more nutritious, larger and cheaper.
  • Carrots πŸ₯•
    Similar to other recommendations, carrots are readily available in the winter β€” and therefore more affordable! But did you know that, due to the colder climate, are also at their peak in flavour? This is due to cold temperatures converting their starches to sugars resulting in a sweeter and more flavourful vegetable. Cheap and tasty. It's win-win.
  • Oranges 🍊
    Continuing with the orange theme we have... well, oranges. As we mentioned, citrus fruits thrive in the winter months, making oranges a great, affordable option for a nutritious breakfast or lunch-box snack! (You could also opt for a lemon πŸ‹, but I don't think that would go down too well).

What's in season in spring?

All spring produce

Fruit:

  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Tangelos

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Kumara
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Silver beet
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Swedes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams

Just like us, many fruits and vegetables begin to emerge after the colder winter months, making the most of the longer, warmer days.

After likely indulging in soups, stews and other winter warmers, it's time to start thinking about your leafy greens. Cabbage, lettuce and spinach are abundant during our spring months, making them super affordable.

The mild weather in New Zealand during spring is also perfect for growing produce like asparagus, avocado, peas, radish, spinach, and strawberries. These crops need a specific amount of sunlight, temperature, and moisture to grow, and the spring conditions provide just that.

Spring's most affordable picks 🌱

  • Strawberries πŸ“
    With the citrus season coming to a close, it can be a rough period for locally-grown fruits. Except for the humble strawberry, with it's peak season between October & April. A true spring favourite for many Kiwis, and one of the cheapest available home-grown options, so make the most!
  • Asparagus πŸ₯—
    Asparagus can be quite a delicate vegetable that requires just the right amount of light, temperature and moisture. Luckily, spring conditions make it the perfect time for this goldilocks vegetable to grow (not too hot, not too cold). But, be quick, as the season is short and supply dwindles around January time.
  • Spinach πŸ₯¬
    Spinach grows year-round, but requires less input and thrives better during late-winter and early-spring. Being a super food, packed full of minerals, nutrients and antioxidants, getting the most of it in your diet while it's at its peak is always a great idea.

What's in season in summer?

All summer produce

Fruit:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Lemons
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Raspberries
  • Redcurrants
  • Rock Melon
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Vegetables:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Butternut
  • Cabbage
  • Capsicum
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • KΕ«mara
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Silverbeet
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes

When thinking of seasonal produce during the summer months, our minds (unsurprisingly) default to summer fruits. And rightly so. Think delicious blackberries and raspberries. Plum and peaches. Melons, nectarines and more. Summer truly is the season for sweet, satisfying fruits.

But let's not forget about the delicious vegetables abundant through the summer too. Cucumber, zucchini and avocados are three delicious crops which peak during the summer months, perfect to be included in a cool, refreshing salad.

Summer's most affordable picks 🌞

  • Avocados πŸ₯‘
    During the summer months, avocados can fall as low as less than a $1, making them the perfect time to work into breakfasts, lunches and dinner. And, avocado prices continue to fall year-to-year, meaning there's never been a better time to be an avocado fan.
  • Berries 🫐
    Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries are a few of the delicious berries readily available during summer. And the possibilities for using them are endless. Think pies, jams and other sweet treats. Or, stock up on them now and freeze them for later, perfect for smoothies and juices.
  • Tomatoes πŸ…
    Tomatoes are a staple summer crop in New Zealand, with the warm temperatures and long daylight hours providing ideal growing conditions. With a high supply and demand for tomatoes during the summer season, the prices tend to be lower, and make a perfect pairing in a fresh, summer salad with your avocados!

ℹ️ Need some more help?

The Produce Company have put together a super handy calendar for you to download, tracking pretty much every single fruit and vegetable you can think of!

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