By Doris Vallejo-Aguilar, UT Intern, Spring 2017
Have you ever wondered where the fruits and vegetables from our local grocery store come from? The answer is simple. Our fruits and vegetables come from farms and orchards. Orchards are areas where rows of trees are planted to grow fruits. While there may be thousands of farms and orchards across the United States, Texas is one of the largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables. Texas farms and orchards grow over 60 different fruits and vegetables!
Several organizations check our fresh fruits and vegetables to make sure they are being grown and treated with the highest standards of safety. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set the rules for people to follow so the fruits and vegetables we eat are safe. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) also plays part in making sure our food is safe to eat. The USDA measures the level of quality and value of many foods including fruits and vegetables. In addition, the USDA standards provide a base for food trade.
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has different programs in their Food and Nutrition Division. One of those programs is called the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). The FFVP provides fresh fruits and vegetables to students. The goal of the FFVP is to improve children’s overall diet. The FFVP helps schools create healthy places for students by giving them healthier food choices and increase their fruit and vegetable consumption.
For more information about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, visit http://www.squaremeals.org/Programs/FreshFruitandVegetableProgram.aspx
While there may be programs that try to implement healthier eating, you can do your part too! Start by visiting your local farmers market! Check out www.texasfarmersmarket.org/overview for more information.
Image source: Farmers’ Market by Natalie Maynor (Flicker CC BY 2.0)
You can learn when fresh fruits and vegetables are available! Below are a few fruits and vegetables that grow in Texas and their available dates:
Date of Availability
Date of Availability
|Apples||June – November||Broccoli||December – March|
|Blackberries||April – June||Carrots||Year-round|
|Blueberries||May – July||Fresh Cucumbers||April – December|
|Oranges||September – April||Mushrooms||Year-round|
|Peaches||April – August||Potatoes||April – September|
|Watermelons||May – November||Pumpkins||September – Nov|
|Pears||June – September||Sweet Potatoes||August – November|
Visit www.gotexan.org/Publications/Articles.aspx for the full Texas Produce Availability Chart