Tracking Seasonal Fruits?
After about 10 threads reading up on the different fruits in season in south Florida-- I'm getting the picture that most good local fruit is only in season locally during the fall.
Yet according to this chart from this website:
It shows almost all of the fruit being almost year-round?
I know chowhounders would know best on this one-- and as I am new to both Florida and Farmer's markets or any of this stuff (my family only shopped at supermarket chains, this is all completely alien)-- would really appreciate if anyone could clear this up or just post a link to a better website for me regarding fruit seasons. I can't stand dealing with finnicky supermarket chain fruit anymore.
What fruits are you interested in? One site you can go to is Pine Island Nursery http://www.tropicalfruitnursery.com/
They have a variety viewer for mangoes, lychee, avacado, and dragon fruit. So there's a small description and when a specific variety is ready.
You might also want to do a search for "Tropical fruit forum", and the first 2 sites are going to be the best. One is from gardenweb, and the second is a site thats been around for about only a year. Now these site are more for home growers of fruit. But you can read up on the fruit, and usually they post updates on how there fruit is growing, so if the people are harvesting "Fruit A", then you can start looking for "Fruit A" in a market.
For example, we've had a mild winter and my trees started to bloom early, but only about 20% of the tree bloomed flowers. In March we had a lot of cold fronts come thru and the rest of trees started to bloom. So I'll have some mangoes and lychees early, by the end of the month, And the rest will be ready as usual at the end of May/June.
I haven’t been to Bedner’s in a while so I can’t comment on what they have, versus elsewhere.
You won’t find cheap, bargain produce at the Delray Green Market (and most others, AFAIK).
But you will find fresh, local, high-quality goods.
Right now, there’s tons of heirloom tomatoes, huge bunches of basil, arugula and other greens, strawberries and much more (see photos).
Local farms represented include Green Cay, Alderman with organic, Thomas Produce (from west Boca) and Volker Farms. Then there are also the cool folks from Heritage Hen in Boynton, Arrowhead Grass-fed Beef, and the new Finn-Attic Fish Co, who are selling just-caught hogfish, snapper and more.
* Who’s that well-known chef shopping here on Saturday morning?
* Fresh chem-free organic eggs from Heritage Hen
* Heirloom tomatoes from Green Cay
* Organic aubergine from Alderman
* Local strawberries
* Squash and Zucchini (Alderman)
* Red leaf lettuce
* Baby heirlooms from Green Cay
* Fresh mozzarella and burrata from Mozzarita in Pompano
* Multigrain bread from Old Schoolhouse bakery
* And finally, a “BLT Plus” I whipped together Saturday morning featuring: Bacon, Arugula, Basil, Heirloom Red & Yellow Tomato, Burrata, Truffle Salt and Fresh-ground Pepper on Multigrain Toast. (All but bacon and salt from green market).
Once again thanks for the great photos. And even more important, the pics show a market like those I am looking for. I will try to get there this weekend. But you have to give me a clue since I am not from these parts: Who is that famous chef?
Bedner's is pretty good; they have a range of both local and imported at fair prices, and it is usually quite fresh. The staff are very helpful, if not the most knowledgable about all the items. They also sell grass-fed local beef and a lot of jarred and canned ethnic products, along with breads, etc.
And I like their 99-cent shelves outside! (excellent raspberry jam from Egypt; Tate's cookies for $1.99, etc)
Are papayas grown in Florida?
What about avocados? Those I've seen called "Florida avocados" bear the label indicating that they are a product of the DR, in this early spring season.
What locally grown fruits should we look for in the coming month or so?
What about tomatoes? Those I've bought so far are good only for roasting and using in sauces, not for salads...
I've had great red peppers and various kinds of eggplant, along with locally grown zucchini, in the past few weeks....
A good source in southern PB county is Bedner's Market, on 441/#7.
There is also a guy (Steve?) who sells shrimp from the West Coast, in the Bedner's parking lot for what seem to be fair prices. (I paid $20 for 1.5 lb, heads off, large) He tells me that he can often get heads-on shrimp but I've yet to see those yet, anywhere, unfrozen. (Anyone know of other sources for non-frozen head-on shrimp?)
Actually if you look at that chart carefully you'll see most are NOT avail in June-Sep when it gets too hot.
Here's another spreedsheet, this one from Green Cay Farms (Boynton) on what they grow (or can buy nearby) locally, year round, this is mostly veg not fruit:
Nov-Apr are the "high season" for most.
Tomatoes are in glory now but it won't last long. Corn too.
Anyone in the area interested in chatting with several growers in person at the same time, could try to come to the Delray Green Market next Saturday morning or one coming up.
There you'll find several local growers who've been around a long time and are glad to talk about what's being harvested when. Many of these farms are out on 441 in the general area of Bedners.
Green Cay Farms is one
You could also meet Svetlana and the folks from Heritage Hen in Boynton...
CF: Do the farmers at the Delray Saturday market have anything different than what we might find for example, at Bedners? You mentioned tomatoes, but I have not found very good ones so far...no doubt I am looking in the wrong place..I did see heirlooms at Bedners for $3.99 per pound..have not yet tried those and am not even sure if they are local (???). I am willing to drive for great tomatoes! Is there any interesting markets along the route to Wellington/Belle Glade coming from the east?
Any interesting food shopping in or near Belle Glade, not to mention the Estabrook book.
Papaya, avocado and tomatoes are all grown in South Florida, and heirloom tomatoes this time of year are excellent as is. Typically FL avocado season is more often seen in the summer than now.
In response to OP, the season for most fruits and veg in South Florida is fall - spring, with mangoes and avocados being the primary summer crops.
The Florida Ag site isn't too far off...different varieties ripen at different times, which is why some of the items show very long seasonality. But it's true -- Florida growers get two full cycles from most crops in the course of a year (a winter/spring and a fall/winter harvest) -- the summer is usually just too hot for most fruits/veg.
Go to the better farmer's market is the best way. Local (or any) fruits ain't going to be in season only during the fall if only from the fact that different fruits and veggies have different requirements.
As a visitor to Miami, I don't know the area that well, but my wife specifically was on the look out for (exotic) local and seasonal fruits. Coconut Grove Organic Market, Los Pinarenos Fruteria, and Robert Is Here had great stuff, and you can tell what was in season and what wasn't due to availability and/or signage.
The three places I listed above aren't the only places, but they came highly recommended. There were also other places that we wanted to check out (and were likewise recommended), but couldn't because of time constraints.
Are you certain that Robert is here is selling only local fruits? I've only had 2 brief stops there (could not beat the long line for their fruit shakes), but a brief glance this past January seemed to indicate that there was some imported fruit....papaya, dragon fruit, avocado, etc. (I could be wrong on this, though!)
Prices for papaya were quite a bit higher than I have seen in local markets further north.....(best buys on papaya seem to be at Costco and The Boys (Delay) , both of which charge per piece of fruit, rather than per pound.
Very curious about the large weekend market in Redland Market Village, near Homestead......has anyone been there recently? I am int he Delray area and do not want to take the long drive just to find stuff I can find closer to me..but if there are many vendors of prepared foods, and good atmosphere, I will be there!!
I never said Robert is Here sells only local fruits. They sell SOME local fruits and also non local fruits.
There are usually signs describing sourcing and the staff will also say if asked.
Also, it's hard to say what is or isn't exactly local. I also go by availability/selection. A big chain supermarket might have everything all the time in large quantities. But smaller stands will typically carry in large quantities what is "in season." As for the local part, ask for sourcing.