Canada has 6 growing seasons, with early summer lasting from May to June. Stay ahead of the competition by utilizing only the freshest fruits this summer!
View below for updates on what local Ontarian produce is currently in season, and learn more about Canada's 6 growing seasons!
Techniques: bake, caramelize, deep-fry (eg. fritters, apple rings, as chips), grill, poach, raw, sauté, stew*
ChefFact: “If you cook apples on top of the stove, some varieties will have a lot of juice while others will have none at all. Fuji, Gala, and Golden Delicious apples tend to be juicy, while Granny Smith apples are often drier. With different types of apples, you often don’t know exactly what they will do. So if I’m going to serve apples with gingerbread, I will sauté them in a little sugar and see what happens. If they are letting out a bunch of juice, I won’t add much sugar. If they are dry, I’ll add some apple juice or Calvados.”
~ Emily Luchetti, Farallon (San Francisco)*
ChefFact: Cherries come in many varieties with the most common being the dark red Bing and Van, and it’s multihued cross-hybrid Rainier. Bing’s purple-red flesh is firm and juicy, while Rainer’s finely textured yellow flesh offers a colourless juice with exceptional delicate flavours. Cherries generally tend to be quite sweet but can sometimes feature a tart finish.**
Perfect Pairings: It is said that Rhubarb & Strawberries are one of the ‘holy grail’ of food pairings.*
Inspired Dishes: Vanilla Yogurt Mousse, Rhubarb-Citrus Compote, Blood Orange Sorbet, and Coulis
~ Michael Laiskonis, pastry chef, Le Bernardin (New York City)*
4. Saskatoon Berries
ChefFact: Saskatoon berries are native to North America and grow wild all over the continent from Alaska to Maine. Saskatoon berries resemble blueberries in their size, shape, and colour, though they are more closely related to the apple family. The taste has been described as a sweet, nutty-almond flavour.***
Techniques: raw, sauté*
ChefFact: Adding sugar enhances strawberry’s natural flavour, as does adding an acid such as citrus juice or vinegar.*
Canada's 6 Growing Seasons
Spring: In Ontario, around late March or early April, we see the first fresh produce of the year – like tart rhubarb. Meanwhile, greenhouses help our growers get ahead of the season for crops such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
Early Summer: Fresh produce becomes more abundant from May to June. The first early berries make an appearance, with strawberries dominating the fruit stands, and a wide variety of leafy greens is available. This is also the peak time for asparagus.
Summer: Sunny July and August are top months for fresh produce in Ontario. Fruits such as peaches, plums and cherries ripen to perfection. Grocery aisles across the province are piled high with colourful, ripe field-grown tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Early Fall: September, with its warm days and cooler nights, is a great month for fruits such as raspberries, apples and pears. This is jelly- and tart-making season! Heartier squashes and pumpkins are also available in abundance now.
Fall: October and November are the last chance to get many of the summer-peaking vegetables, such as tomatoes, celery and corn, in season. Root vegetables like carrots and beets sweeten up with a touch of frost, and fresh cranberries appear in time for Thanksgiving.
Winter: The colder months are the best time to take advantage of fruits and vegetables that store well, such as apples, cabbage, carrots and potatoes – all ingredients that shine in soups and stews.
- * Page, Karen, et al. "The Flavor Bible: the Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs". Little, Brown and Company, 2011.
- **"Fresh Produce Guide" . IN Marketing Services, 2015.
- ***“About Saskatoon Berries.” Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America, 2018 Saskatoon Berry Institute, saskatoonberryinstitute.org/saskatoons/.
- “Availability Guide.” Ontario.ca, Queen's Printer for Ontario 2012-18, 3 June 2016, www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide.
- “Foodland Ontario Fruits & Vegetables Availability Guide.” Foodland Ontario, Queen's Printer for Ontario 2012-18, www.sobeys.com/en/articles/whats-season-guide-canadian-produce-ontario/.
- “What's in Season?” Ontario Farm Fresh, 2018 Ontario Farm Fresh, ontariofarmfresh.com/consumers/whats-in-season/.
- “What's In Season.” Harvest Ontario, 2018 Bright Light Communications Inc., harvestontario.com/whatinseason.