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Why farm-fresh food lovers LOVE Seasonal Roots

Don’t just take our word for it — check out what our members have to say!

(Got less than 2 minutes? Click here to watch our members talk farm-fresh food on the Seasonal Roots YouTube Channel.)

Nothing beats farm-fresh food. And once you have a taste for it, Seasonal Roots is the easiest way to get the freshest local food. Seasonal Roots members explain why.

hannah supports local farmers

“I first heard about Seasonal Roots from two local friends,” says Hannah, a Seasonal Roots member since 2020. “They told us how easy it was to order and that everything came right to your doorstep, and it was all fresh local food.”

Has Seasonal Roots lived up to those promises?

“Oh yes, above and beyond!  It’s fresh, it’s local, it’s high quality, and delicious.”

Taste the farm-fresh difference

“When it comes to having farm-fresh produce, it is just a world of difference,” says Erica, who’s been enjoying fresh local food from Seasonal Roots since 2016.

erica loves convenient home delivery

A busy mom, she found us through a quick Google search. She grew up with fresh produce from her grandparents’ garden. “I just love the fresh produce. Once you have it, and you taste the difference, you taste the freshness of the fruits and the vegetables — then buying grocery store produce, even organic produce from the grocery store, you still get that kind of filmy taste where they have sprayed it just to try to preserve the shelf life of it. So there is a huge difference.”

“I grew up on a farm,” Hannah recalls. How does Seasonal Roots compare? “The quality of the fruits and the veggies and the artisan foods is amazing.”

hamilton can taste the farm-fresh difference

Hannah’s husband Hamilton adds, “I had worked on her family farm for a summer, so I know the difference between store-bought groceries and right-from-the-farm groceries. And you can really taste a difference.”

Erica agrees. “I cannot eat grocery store carrots anymore just because I swear by these carrots that come from the local farms. They’re sweet. They taste fresh.” (So tell us how you really feel about the carrots, Erica!) She laughs, “The carrots are, like, out of this world!”

farm-fresh carrots

For Jo Anne, who’s also been a member since 2016, her fave is greener: “Kale for my juices.”

jo anne enjoys farm-fresh produce in season

As Jo Anne sorts through her freshly delivered box of goodies she sighs, “Beautiful, my box is always beautiful. I always get whatever’s in season. Never disappointed.” She holds up a green and white bouquet of spring onions. “Mmmm, yummy!”

jo anne's box of fresh local food

Hannah’s fave? “I love the hydroponic lettuce that comes from the hydroponic farm. And the fresh farm eggs. They are so delicious! Better than Costco.”

hannah's daughter loves fresh local yogurt

Hannah and Hamilton’s little one chimes in: “I like strawberry yogurt!”

Convenient online ordering plus home delivery of farm-fresh food

“It’s convenient that it’s just delivered to my door,” says Erica. “I have small kids and we have a busy schedule, always on the go. And so if I don’t have to worry about going to the farmers market or going to the grocery store, then that’s just one less thing. That is off my list.”

home-delivered farm-fresh food

Neighborhood Market Managers provide personalized customer care

Hannah says, “We love our Market Manager who delivers our food. She’s become a friend.” She turns to her daughter. “Do you like it when the Veggie Fairy comes?” The answer is a definite, “Yeah!”

Erica explains the advantage of knowing exactly who’s dropping off your food. “She writes me these little, I call them little love notes — updates if something’s missing, or she swapped something out or she put a little extra peppers or something like that in my box.”

According to Jo Anne, “I have the best Veggie Fairy ever.” (Everyone says that!) “Really, you can always count on the freshness. And guaranteed, too. If something isn’t right, you make a phone call — they WILL make it right.”

farm-fresh food delivered with personalized customer care

Erica concludes: “Having someone that cares, someone that is coming and delivering produce to your family, that is just everything.”

(Discover what neighborhood Market Managers have to say about Seasonal Roots)

Supporting local farmers is a win-win!

Part of the reason Hannah joined was because of where she grew up. “I grew up on my family’s farm. So when we moved down here I wanted to support the local farmers.”

Jo Anne points out, “It tastes different from the grocery store, because it IS much fresher. You’re also supporting the local farms. So it’s a win-win situation!”

erica's box of farm-fresh produce

Hamilton sums it all up: “If you’re looking for higher quality, this is the way to go.”

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms and dads who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Neighborhood Market Managers share their experience!

Get the inside scoop on local food, home delivery… even family?!!

Neighborhood Market Managers are the original Veggie Fairies. (Here’s how they got that nickname!) They’re the critical link connecting local families with local farmers and food artisans.

Sometimes Market Managers jump straight into the Veggie Fairy business. Sometimes, like Yvonne, they start out as Seasonal Roots customers first.

market manager yvonne

“I’ve been a member of Seasonal Roots for the last two years,” says Yvonne. “My Market Manager would deliver to me and we would talk at times. And I enjoyed that so much — learning about Seasonal Roots and recipes from her — that I decided to become one.”

(Watch a video of these Veggie Fairies as they tell all on our Seasonal Roots YouTube Channel!)

More than just a job

Even Veggie Fairies don’t work for free. But for most Market Managers, it’s more than just a job. According to Kerry, it’s a way to practice what she believes in.

market manager kerry

“There are so many things that I love about Seasonal Roots,” says Kerry. “All the fruits and vegetables are locally sourced and sustainably grown. That’s not only good for me and my family, but it’s also good for the environment.”

For Yvonne, it’s Seasonal Roots’ commitment to supporting local businesses and meeting the needs of busy families: “I enjoy the philosophy of small producers, local farmers, and having it conveniently delivered to my front door.”

And then there are the perks

“I love getting discounts on the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find in the local area,” says Mary Kate. (Yep, neighborhood Market Managers do get discounts!) Plus, “I get the privilege of tasting incredible things from small businesses.”

market manager mary kate

Another perk is flexibility. Market Managers deliver one morning per week, and there are additional opportunities to boost their income as their schedule allows.

“I love it because it fits into my schedule flawlessly. Even with three children!” says Mary Kate.

The pandemic drove home the benefits of flexibility for Kerry. Looking back, she says, “This past year was really crazy. When the schools went virtual, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my children. Luckily, I was able to bring them with me. And they were able to get their responsibilities done, and I was able to get my responsibilities done.”

(Pro tip: Kids love playing Veggie Fairy.)

market manager and son

Yvonne sums it up. “I get some great discounts on the food, I earn a little extra money, and I get to talk with my customers and be out there.”

On delivery day, Yvonne also enjoys connecting with her fellow Veggie Fairies. Market Managers in each area meet up at party stops. That’s where they collect their customers’ boxes and load them into their cars before heading out on their rounds. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s been a great experience.”

market manager party stop

To anyone who’s thinking about getting into the Veggie Fairy biz, Kerry doesn’t hold back. “Become a part of this family. It’s wonderful!”

neighborhood market managers

If taking care of your neighbors with Seasonal Roots sounds like a good fit for you, we want to hear from you! Just email karla@seasonalroots.com to learn more.

Click here to watch Yvonne, Kerry, and Mary Kate talk about what it’s like to be a neighborhood Market Manager on the Seasonal Roots YouTube Channel.

Click here to read how this Veggie Fairy gets her own kids to eat their veggies.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

organic vs sustainable humane

Which one is organic?

Here’s an easy way to find out if your food is good for you and the planet

By the Veggie Fairy Team:

Which image do you think shows an organic egg-producing farm approved by the USDA?

The top image is from a multi-generational family farmstead in the rolling hills outside Richmond, Va. Their hens spend their days in open pastures, foraging and engaging in natural behaviors like dust baths and flying short distances.

The bottom image is from a complex of 9 big barns crowded with 1.6 million hens up in Michigan. The closest those hens come to being outside is in a “porch” attached to their barn that’s screened on one side.

So which operation has been certified organic by the USDA? If you guessed the top one, you’d be wrong.

Most of us would assume that a label that says “organic” would be the easiest way to make sure you’re getting the best food for your money. Completely understandable! But that’s just not the case.

Herbruck Poultry Ranch in Saranac, Michigan, (the bottom image), is USDA organic and was featured recently in The Washington Post. The article explains how big, industrial farming operations like Herbruck are using the government’s official organic certification process to their advantage.

At Avery’s Branch Farms in the rolling hills of Amelia Court House, Va., (the top image), the Alexander family live and work there alongside their chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, and cows, using sustainable, pasture-based farming methods to produce nutritious, delicious food.

Pasture-based: The real gold standard

The Alexanders and their animals live close to the land. In the woodlands, the pigs root around for acorns and other piggy goodies the way they were meant to. Out in the pastures, the cows graze on a diverse mixture of grasses, their natural diet. During daylight hours, the flocks forage in the pastures, too, under the watchful eyes of the family’s Great Pyrenees guard dogs, who protect them from predators. At night, the birds nest safely inside their hen houses.

By the way, those hen houses are on wheels so they can be moved from pasture to pasture, following behind the cows. The hens’ low-stress, healthy, natural lifestyle is great for the girls… and their eggs, which are much more nutritious and flavorful than commercial factory-farmed eggs.

For example, their pastured eggs are up to twice as rich in vitamin E, and two to six times richer in beta-carotene! You can see it for yourself in the egg yolks. Crack an egg from a pasture-raised hen into a pan and then next to it crack an egg from any other kind of hen — conventional or so-called free-range or cage-free, organic or not. The pastured egg will be a deeper, brighter yellow. The others? Much paler.

(Discover the difference between pastured eggs vs cage-free, free-range and organic eggs — there’s no contest!!!)

The Alexanders’ animals are raised from start to finish on lush pasture. They’re fed no hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic chemicals. This is the old school definition of organic, before Big Industrial Agriculture got hold of it. Not only does the old-fashioned way produce more nutritious food, it’s also much more humane for the animals and better for the environment — the farmer is working with nature instead of against it.

“It’s our goal to provide the community with the most nourishing products possible, while also protecting the land,” the Alexanders explain. “We have never used any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on our farm.”

So how can you know if your food is genuinely good for you and the planet?

Okay, so the organic label is no guarantee. Cracking open eggs and comparing them is eye-opening, but you waste a lot of eggs that way.

The best way to find out if your food is any good is to get to know each farmer and food artisan who produces the things you eat. That sounds hard and time-consuming, and it is if you do it yourself. But it’s easy if you have someone you can trust to do it for you.

At Seasonal Roots, that someone is Sam, our Farmer Connector, backed up by Duane, our founder and Head Veggie Fairy. Sam researches and gets to know everyone who makes the food we home-deliver to our members, including the Alexanders. You can get to know them, too. Next to every item on our menu is a small image of the farmer or food artisan who provided it. Click on that image, and you can read their story and find out what you need to know.

Eating fresh local food from people you know and trust is the easiest way to live your values — whether that’s a healthy diet, a low carbon footprint, supporting local farmers and your local community, protecting the local environment… or all of the above. As a Seasonal Roots member, you’re supporting sustainable local agriculture and making a difference for yourself, our community, and the planet!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Which basket size is right for you?

Everything you need to know to choose the perfect basket of local food

By the Veggie Fairy Team

How can you make sure you get the basket of local food that’s best for you each week? You’ve got three options — keep your default basket as is, customize your basket, or skip your order for the week. Whichever way you go, just make sure you do it by 11:59 pm Sunday night.

So here are your options:

1. Do nothing and keep your default basket

If you do not make any changes to customize your basket, then you will receive your default basket as is, filled with the yummy items listed in the email you receive every Friday.

2. Customize your basket

You can swap as many basket items as you’d like, most at no additional charge.

FYI, some basket items may only be available in certain basket sizes due to limited quantities. So feel free to check out the other sizes, see what’s on offer, and switch to a different size basket if you want.

In addition to swapping basket items and changing your basket size, you can also buy additional items from the ‘Extras’ section. Extras include meat, dairy, baked goods, condiments, and more.

By the way, if you want to change your default basket for good (or until you decide to change it again), click on the drop-down menu in your account and go to the Delivery Preferences section. You can do this any time. But to make sure the change is in the system before the market opens, do it well ahead of time.

3. Skip your order

You can also skip your order on any given week. When the market opens, just click on “Skip This Week,” and watch for a confirmation email that your order has been skipped. If you don’t get that email, log in again and make sure it really is set to skip.

If you know you’d like to skip farther ahead of time, sign in to your account and hover over the gear icon in the upper right corner. Click on “Delivery Preferences” and follow the instructions. Then be sure to click “Save” and watch for that confirmation email!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

fresh local food

QuickStart Guide to fresh local food

Welcome new members!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

QuickStart Guide to fresh local food

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how update or skip deliveries

Deliveries! How to update, skip, or get a replacement!

From the “News You Can Use” Department

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

how to update or skip deliveries

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Meet your local farmers

Get to know some of the folks who feed you and your family

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

local food local farmers

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

5 tips to keep fresh local produce FRESH

Keep all those great nutrients & flavor from slipping away

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

how to keep fresh local food fresh

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

Share the love!

Help spread the word about fresh local food!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Get a larger, easy-to-read, downloadable, printable version here, or click anywhere on the post below.

share the love of fresh local food

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how to store fresh vegetables

How to store fresh vegetables & fruits

Make fresh taste and nutrition last when you store fresh vegetables & fruits!

By the Veggie Fairy Team:

GET YOUR RED HOT PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD OF OUR HANDY DANDY STORAGE CHEAT SHEET RIGHT HERE!

You have to store fresh vegetables and fruits in order to eat fresh vegetables and fruits — that’s just a fact of life. Word to the wise: If you don’t store nature’s bounty the right way, you can undermine the whole reason why you’re making an effort to eat it in the first place.

When you eat fresh local produce, you’re eating the most nutritious, delicious food you can get. It’s picked at the peak of ripeness shortly before you receive it. But it doesn’t last forever. It’s not like grocery store produce, which is usually grown far away, picked early for the lengthy trip, and then waxed and sprayed with preservatives so it will look beautiful and “fresh” for an unnaturally long period time.

Fact is, grocery store produce looks great long after many of the nutrients inside have faded away.

(Read more: Real fresh vs fake fresh)

With local food, what you see is what you get. If it looks fresh, that’s because it really is. The key is to handle and store it right.

Now if you’re in a hurry, skip to the end to get to the bottom line: Our handy dandy cheat sheet that tells you exactly how to store most local and regional produce items.

But if you’ve got a minute, first check out these additional strategies and background info that will help you get the most out of your fresh veggies and fruits.

1. Eat fast

The longer your produce sits in your fridge or pantry, the more nutrients slowly disappear. You get good stuff (like perishable enzymes) from fresh food that you can’t get from anything else, so don’t let your fresh local food go to waste.

(Read more: Why you should eat raw food and keep it on hand)

But you don’t have to eat everything all at once! Simply…

2. Prioritize

To avoid wasting produce, prioritize it so you eat it in the right order. Eat the produce with the shortest life span first, like berries or salad greens or green beans. Once they’re eaten, the more long-lived produce will be waiting for you, with most of their nutrients still intact.

So each week after your order arrives:

  • Indulge in the DIVAS right away: Berries, broccoli, cherries, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, peaches and plums (if soft and ripe), peas, and sweet corn.
  • Dive into the more moderate there-for-you BESTIES next — no rush, but don’t wait forever: Cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, green onions, greens from root veggies, herbs, leeks, peppers, radishes, summer squashes, and tomatoes.
  • Save the LOW MAINTENANCE BROS for last. Even if you don’t get them eaten during the week, they can actually kick back and last for a couple weeks, so long as they’re in their happy place. These include: Apples, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions, pears, potatoes, root veggies, and winter squashes.
  • Now on to the part where we tell you how to store fresh vegetables and fruit after your local farmers harvest it for you.

    3. QC before you store fresh vegetables & fruits

    Do a bit of quality control before you store your food. If there’s one mushy or moldy berry, toss it right away. A mushy item is a bad influence, and will lead everything that hangs out with it down the road to ruin.

    4. Do wait to wash

    You should definitely wash your produce to make sure it’s safe to eat. But wait to wash until right before you eat it or cook it. Until then, leave it in its original state and handle it as gently and as little as possible. Excess moisture and bruising accelerate decay and nutrient loss.

    5. Do wait to chop or peel

    Store fresh vegetables and fruits whole. While we love meal-prepping, if you prep too far in advance, fresh fruits and vegetables lose those precious nutrients. So hold off on peeling or cutting them up until you’re ready to use them. Peeling and chopping expose the insides to oxygen and light and that kills nutrients. Once you do slice into something ahead of time, store it sealed up and in the fridge until it’s time to use it.

    (Read more: 4 easy ways to max out your produce’s nutritional value)

    6. Don’t wait to refrigerate fresh vegetables & fruits

    For most fruits and veggies, a cold, dark place slows down decay and the loss of nutrients, because it inhibits destructive enzymes and the loss of vitamin C. B vitamins are particularly sensitive to heat and light.

    There are exceptions — namely citrus and any fruit that could use some ripening, plus garlic, ginger, potatoes, onions, winter squash, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes.

    7. Don’t crowd your crops

    Make sure produce has room to “breathe” if it’s stored in a bag. If you cram too many items into a bag, more moisture builds up, more bruising happens, and the produce will spoil more quickly.

    8. The humidity factor: A detour into the crisper drawer

    In general, vegetables last longer in a more humid environment, while fruits prefer a slightly less humid environment. So store fresh vegetables separately from fresh fruit when you can.

    The typical crisper drawer is nothing more than a partition inside your refrigerator that offers a more humid environment than the rest of the interior. Some crispers have a sliding humidity control setting that ranges from low to high. Sometimes they’re labeled “vegetables” (high) and “fruit” (lower than the veggie crisper but still higher than the rest of the fridge).

    But of course, the real world isn’t as simple as these low-tech sliders, which usually just open or close a little vent in the drawer that allows moisture and ethylene gas to escape. The complicating factor is that ethylene gas.

    9. Beware the ethylene gas!

    It’s released by some fruits, including apples, apricots, melons, pears, peaches, plums, plus ripe tomatoes and avocados (but not unripe ones so much.)

    Meanwhile, ethylene gas causes ethylene-sensitive produce to ripen faster, which includes most veggies and some fruits (apples, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, grapes, limes, mangos, honeydew melons, peaches, persimmons, tangerines, and watermelon.)

    So to keep the sensitive ones from turning into overripe mushes, you have to keep them away from the gassy ones. What do you do if a gassy emitter is also a sensitive hater, like an apple? As you’ll see on the cheat sheet at the end, you can keep it in the fruit crisper, or better yet on a shelf in the fridge.

    If you’re the analytical type, here’s an in-depth chart that lists the optimal storage conditions for most veggies and fruits and whether or not they’re an ethylene emitter or an ethylene hater. If you want to totally geek out with this, we’ve created a PDF of the chart that you can download to print and post on your fridge. It will mark you as an expert in how to store fresh vegetables and fruits.

    If you prefer a simpler guideline, here’s the ABC version:

  • A… Keep most fruits in the low humidity drawer along with onions you need to keep cold because you don’t plan to eat them for a long time — onions like low humidity and are neutral in the ethylene gas wars.
  • B… Keep vegetables in the high humidity drawer along with fruits that are gas sensitive haters and NOT emitters that you need to keep cold because you’re not going to eat them within a couple days: unripe avocados, grapes, persimmons, and watermelon.
  • C… Keep gassy emitters who are also sensitive haters on a counter if they’re not ripe yet, and on a shelf in the fridge once they are ripe: apples, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, mangos, honeydew melons, peaches, pears, and plums.
  • 10. The “How to Store Fresh Vegetables & Fruits” CHEAT SHEET: Store each item in its happy place

    GET YOUR RED HOT PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD OF OUR HANDY DANDY CHEAT SHEET RIGHT HERE!

    Should it go on a shelf in the fridge? Or in one of the fridge’s crisper drawers? In a cool, dark pantry? Or a sunny window? At long last, here’s our handy dandy cheat sheet to make it easy:

    When the storage advice for how to store fresh vegetables and fruits calls for plastic bags, you can always substitute plastic or glass storage containers for plastic bags. Store everything unwashed, uncut, and unpeeled. Wash and prep just before using.

    (For visual learners, here’s a helpful infographic that shows the happy places of some common fruits and veggies.)

    APPLES: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks. No need to bag them.

    APRICOTS: Store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks.

    ARTICHOKES: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    ASPARAGUS: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    AVOCADOS: Regionally grown winter avocados from Florida can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. Do not bag them.

    BEANS, GREEN OR LIMA: Wrap in a paper towel in a loosely closed bag in the vegetable crisper.

    BEETS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Store beets in the vegetable crisper.

    BERRIES: Store in single layers divided by paper towels, inside a loosely closed bag or perforated container in the fruit crisper.

    BREAD: Store in an air tight container on the counter or in the pantry. In warm weather, if you can’t eat it within a few days, store it, sliced, in the freezer. (The fridge tends to dry bread out.) Defrost slices on the counter or briefly in the toaster and they’ll still be moist.

    BROCCOLI: Place in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. Eat quickly; broccoli is surprisingly delicate.

    BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Quite resilient! You can store them on or off the stalk in the vegetable crisper. If you cut them off the stalk, leave all the outer leaves intact for an extra layer of protection and seal them in a bag. When it’s time to cook them, remove any leaves that don’t look good.

    CABBAGE: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper and it will last for weeks.

    CANTALOUPE: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry or on a shelf in the fridge.

    CARROTS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap carrots in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If carrots get soft, just drop them in cold water for a few minutes.

    CAULIFLOWER: Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag stem-side down in the vegetable crisper. Keep the head intact until use.

    CELERIAC: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    CELERY: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If it gets soft, trim the ends of the stalks and place in a glass of cool water, or soak the whole stalk in cold water, and that should perk it up.

    CHERRIES: Cherries must, must, must be kept cold! Refrigerate in a plastic bag in the fruit crisper.

    CITRUS: Regionally grown winter citrus from Florida tastes best when stored and eaten at room temperature, so store on the counter or in the pantry. But if you can’t eat it within a few days, pop it in the fruit crisper.

    CORN: Store in the vegetable crisper in its husks but eat within a couple days. It can be roasted or grilled in its husks, too!

    CUCUMBERS: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a day or two. Otherwise, wrap individually in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    EGGPLANT: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry. If you can’t eat it within a few days, seal it in a plastic bag in the crisper or on a shelf in the fridge, but eat within a week.

    FIGS: Store in fruit crisper.

    GARLIC: The kind that has a dry, papery outer skin and no greens can stay on the counter or in the pantry, or it can also be stored in the vegetable crisper.

    GINGER ROOT: Store on the counter or in the pantry.

    GRAPES: Seal in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable crisper, not the fruit crisper.

    GREENS: Includes everything that is mostly green and leafy, from kale, bok choy, lettuce, and spinach, to spring onions, spring garlic, and leeks; also greens cut from the tops of root vegetables. Go through them and immediately discard any leaves that are beyond wilted. Store greens unwashed, wrapped in paper towels, inside a sealed plastic bag, in the vegetable crisper. Use them as soon as you can. They can be a bit delicate. Just make sure you wash before eating!

    HERBS: Trim the ends of the stems (like flowers) and place in a glass of cool water on the counter until ready to use. This method will also help perk up any herb or greens, including celery, that may have wilted en route. To keep them going longer, you can put any herb except basil in the fridge, glass and all, with a plastic bag over it. But leave basil on the counter — the cold temps inside the fridge will quickly turn it black. You can still cook with it, but for fresh uses it gets pretty unappealing.

    HORSERADISH ROOT: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    JICAMA: Can be stored in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them in the vegetable crisper.

    KOHLRABI: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    MANGOS: Regionally grown winter mangos from Florida can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. No need to bag them.

    MELON, HONEYDEW: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry or on a shelf in the fridge.

    MUSHROOMS: Wrap in a paper towel and refrigerate in a breathable container (perforated plastic or a paper bag) in the vegetable crisper.

    NECTARINES: If at all possible, do not refrigerate. It can produce mealy, tasteless fruit. Ripen on the counter and eat when ready.

    OKRA: Place in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    ONIONS: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them on a shelf in the fridge for longterm storage of a couple weeks or more. Never store them in plastic.

    PARSNIPS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap parsnips in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. If parsnips get soft, just drop them in cold water for a few minutes.

    PEAS, SNOW OR ENGLISH: Wrap peas that come in their pods in a paper towel and refrigerate in a breathable container (perforated plastic or a paper bag) in the vegetable crisper.

    PEACHES: If at all possible, do not refrigerate. It can produce mealy, tasteless fruit. Ripen on the counter and eat when ready. If they’re not quite ripe and you’re in a hurry, they will ripen faster in a bag. But keep an eye on them — they may ripen very fast that way!

    PEARS: Can be stored unwashed on the counter for a few days. To prolong freshness, store on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper, where they can last for a couple weeks. No need to bag them. Wash just before eating. If they’re not quite ripe and you’re in a hurry, they will ripen faster in a bag.

    PEPPERS, HOT OR SWEET: Store in a paper bag in the vegetable crisper, where they’ll keep for a week.

    PLUMS: Can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for a day or two, or on a shelf in the fridge or in a well-ventilated crisper. If they aren’t quite ripe, they will ripen faster if you bag them.

    POTATOES: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can also store them in the vegetable crisper for longterm storage of a couple weeks or more. Never store them in plastic or in the same area as produce that releases ethylene gas — potatoes are highly sensitive!

    RADISHES: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Wrap radishes in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    ROMANESCO: Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag stem-side down in the vegetable crisper. Keep the head intact until use.

    RHUBARB: Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    RUTABAGAS: Store in the vegetable crisper.

    SPROUTS: Wrap in paper towels in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

    SQUASH, SUMMER: Yellow squash and zucchini can be stored on the counter. If you can’t eat it within a few days, seal it in a plastic bag in the crisper or on a shelf in the fridge, but eat within a week.

    SQUASH, WINTER: Hard winter squashes, like acorn, butternut, and pumpkin, can hang out in the pantry or on the counter out of direct sunlight. If you store them in the fridge, keep them on a shelf, not in a crisper. They’re very hardy and can last a long, long time in the fridge. Big pumpkins do not need to be refrigerated at all.

    SWEET POTATOES: Store in a cool, dark corner of the pantry or countertop. You can store them on a shelf in the fridge or the vegetable crisper, but be aware that fridge storage can sometimes alter their taste and flavor while cooking — but not always, so it’s okay in a pinch.

    TOMATOES: Best on the counter, or in a sunny window if they need to ripen a bit more. But if you can’t get to them before they turn too ripe, you can store them on a shelf in the fridge. Just let them return to room temp before eating them raw – the cold can reduce the flavor, but most of it usually returns if you let it warm up.

    TURNIPS: Remove any greens and store them separately like other greens. Store turnips in the vegetable crisper.

    WATERMELON: Store on the counter or in the pantry. Can also be stored on a shelf in the fridge. Never store it in the same area as produce that releases ethylene gas — watermelon is highly sensitive!

    11. When all else fails, freeze it!

    If you can’t eat it all fast enough, just throw it in the freezer. It’ll keep there for 8-12 months! When you defrost it later, if it’s not as appetizing to eat raw, it’ll still be great cooked… and just about as nutritious as it would have been if you’d cooked it instead of freezing it in the first place.

    And that’s how you store fresh vegetables and fruits so you can eat more fresh vegetables and fruits!

    (Read more: How to freeze and save fresh local produce for a year!)

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.