Summer is approaching, which means seasonal fruits are here. There are many fruits specifically found in Florida that are harvested and grown only in the summertime; therefore, it is a perfect opportunity to try these fresh fruits that are grown locally.

“Farmers’ markets are an integral part of communities and their food systems, economies and social networks,” Tamara Ward, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Public Affairs Specialist, said. “They offer a place to connect with neighbors, meet local farmers, support local businesses and provide nutritious food to neighborhoods and families in need.”

Buying fruit and produce locally also provides many benefits that grocery stores do not offer, and it is environmentally friendly as well.

“It’s better for the environment,” Ward said. “Buying local produce reduces the carbon footprint that is a result of shipping it far distances. In addition, buying local produce helps support farmland and green space.”

Not only is buying fresh produce better for the environment, but it is also better tasting and more nutritious to buy local seasonal fruits, like melons and oranges in the summer.

“Over time, the nutrient value of fruit decreases,” Ward said. “The flavors are noticeably better than fruit that was harvested early and shipped thousands of miles to be distributed at a retail store days later.” 

Some of the fruits in season in Florida this time of year and headed into the summer are citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes; melons like watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydew; and berries including strawberries and raspberries, along with many different types of tomatoes. All of these fruits plus more are perfect for the summertime.  

A great way to add some healthy and locally sourced fruits to any diet is by trying out new recipes. Some great recipes to try are fruit salads, orange juice, watermelon-cucumber salad and sorbet. Other recipes that you can cook include margherita pizza, tomato soup and pasta with basil and tomatoes. Overall, trying locally and in-season produce can be beneficial in more ways than one.

“Florida growers supply the U.S. and the world with fresh produce, and the state’s top crops include grapefruit, oranges, cucumbers, bell peppers, fresh market tomatoes, snap beans, watermelon, squash and sweet corn,” Ward said.