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Produce at its Peak – Palm Beach Illustrated

Ivey serves up her roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson
Ivey serves up her roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson

As you peruse the produce section at your local market, you’ll notice that you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for. But you’ve probably never asked yourself how that fruit or vegetable got from the ground to the grocers. That path isn’t quite as direct as you may think. 

Consider an apple. In the United States, apples are only harvested between late August and early November. That means if you’re eating an apple from the grocery store in the spring or summer, it was picked as many as 10 months earlier. These apples are stored in low-oxygen refrigeration for months to keep them from ripening, thereby depleting their nutrients.    

While it’s convenient to be able to purchase whatever fruit or vegetable you want whenever you want, we thrive when eating seasonally from our direct environment. For example, produce that’s ready for harvest in the fall and winter (think citrus and squash) is high in vitamins C and A to boost our immunity and energy levels as we enter the colder season, when we are more prone to colds and viruses. In the spring and summer, the in-season fruits and vegetables like cucumber and watermelon have a higher water content to keep us hydrated as temperatures rise. Spring and summer fruits and veggies are also higher in beta-carotene, which helps to protect against sun damage. Talk about letting food be thy medicine.

Plating the roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson
Plating the roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson

But the benefits don’t stop there. Because in-season produce is picked at its peak and doesn’t require weeks or months in transit or refrigeration, it is more nutrient-dense, more flavorful, and costs less. Read on to learn what’s in season when.

Fall/Winter In-Season Produce 

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Eggplant
  • Citrus
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butternut squash 
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 
  • Kale
  • Papaya
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard

Year-Round in Florida

Spring/Summer In-Season Produce

  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Guava
  • Mango  
  • Radish
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon 
Roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson
Roasted carrots and butternut squash over sautéed kale. Photo by Kent Anderson

Roasted Carrots and Butternut Squash Over Sautéed Kale 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss carrots and squash with 2 tbsp. olive oil, then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time.

Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the kale, shallot, and garlic until the kale is wilted and the shallot is caramelized (about 5 to 7 minutes). Finish the kale with lemon juice and toss in pan
to combine.

Arrange sautéed kale on a large platter. Top with roasted carrots and squash. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley.

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