Unless you’re a hardcore foodie, you might roll your eyes when someone starts talking about locally-grown organic seasonal heirloom produce. It’s easy to assume these things only matter if you’re chasing exquisite flavor or trying to sound sophisticated, but they’re actually very relevant from an emergency preparedness standpoint — delicious taste is a nice bonus. If your goal is to become self-sufficient, you shouldn’t rely on buying whatever produce is on sale at the grocery store. You should be working towards harvesting seasonal fruits and veggies that are locally-grown in your own backyard garden.

The following infographic by April Swiger offers a basic overview of some of the most common seasonal edibles that might be found in a backyard garden. For year-round produce availability, plant a few of your favorite items from each section — just be sure to confirm that they’re viable in your climate and soil conditions first. Click here to download a full-size version of this graphic.

Even if you haven’t gotten into gardening yet or don’t have the time or space to cultivate crops, this guide can be used to select the freshest and most ripe ingredients from your local farmer’s market or grocery store. If a disaster occurs, supply chains to exotic, out-of-season, imported produce will be the first to be interrupted, so this infographic provides some items that should be more reliably-stocked in each time of year. There’s even a financial element to this information — seasonal produce involves less overhead cost, so it’s usually inexpensive.

The USDA Seasonal Produce Guide (linked below) is an excellent source for more info.

For a more in-depth look at seasonal edibles, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Seasonal Produce Guide. This is an extremely helpful resource — just click on any fruit or veggie on the list for nutritional facts, recipe suggestions, storage recommendations, and educational documents.

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