Why eating seasonal fruits and veg tastes better

Eating seasonal is better nutrition and taste-wise, but it can be tricky to know what’s in season and when. Here’s what to look for.

Australians have become accustomed to being able to buy traditional summer fruits such as watermelon and strawberries in the middle of winter, but it’s often at the expense of taste and quality.

If you’re keen to fill up on flavour and goodness, it might pay to look beyond the major food retailers and find out what’s growing in your region.

Why eat seasonal fresh produce

Dietitian Karen Inge says eating with the seasons brings multiple benefits, including taste, price and nutritional value.

“The peak quality is when fruit and vegetables are in season,” Karen says.

Fruit and vegetables available out of season may have been imported from overseas, picked before fully ripe to promote longevity, kept in cold or controlled-atmosphere storage, or exposed to a chemical that extends their life but may compromise flavour.

“If you’re eating foods that have been in cold storage, they’re not at their peak,” Karen says.

“You don’t know how long they’ve been stored, under what conditions and it’s likely that many of the water-soluble vitamins, contained mainly in fruit, will be lost.”

Eating seasonally ensures your diet contains variety throughout the year, says University of South Australia program director of nutrition and food sciences Dr Evangeline Mantziouris.

“From the perspective of getting variety, seasonal produce will impact our health because the more variety, the wider the range of nutrients.

“They’re also more likely to be cheaper and there’s nothing like the taste of a tomato in summer compared to winter when it lacks flavour.”

Seasonal eating also sets a positive example for children and is crucial to their connection to and love for food, according to Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation spokeswoman Nikki Anderson.

“When children learn about what foods need to be planted, and when they need to be harvested, they look to the garden for their eating,” Nikki says.

“If you’re eating foods that are ripe right now, you’ll get better quality.

“If children are eating juicier, more fulsome flavours, as nature intends, they’ll have a better food experience and will come back for more.

“Freshness really ups the pleasure.”

Eating seasonal is also better for the environment as it minimises greenhouse gas emissions from transport, packaging and storage.

Where to buy seasonal food

While the major food suppliers may lean on tactics that extend the life of the produce they sell, shopping at local farmers’ markets gives you access to fresh, great-tasting, in-season food.

The Seasonal Food Guide can provide you with a list of what’s in season in your state as well as farmers’ markets in your area.

What to eat by the seasons


Fruit: Apples, bananas, figs, grapes, kiwifruit, lemons, nectarines, pears, grapes, quinces, persimmons, plums, pears, Nashi pears, watermelon.

Vegetables: Asparagus, beans, beetroot, beansprouts, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin, snow peas, spring onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini.


Fruit: Kiwifruit, lemons, grapefruit, mandarins, oranges (navel).

Vegetables: Beansprouts, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, silverbeet, spinach.


Fruit: Bananas, grapefruit, Lemons, Oranges (navel).

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beansprouts, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, peas, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach.


Fruit: Bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, honeydew melon, rockmelon, watermelon, nectarines, oranges (Valencia), peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries.

Vegetables: Asparagus, beans, beansprouts, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chillies, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, pumpkin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini.

Written by Catherine Lambert.