Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Don't Forget Local Food this Labor Day Weekend

It’s that time of year, Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end of summer is upon us. It is also the peak of produce harvest season in Utah. So whether you are having a big family barbecue, a picnic at a park or in the mountains, or whatever you are doing this weekend that includes food, stop at a local farm stand or farmers market and take some great local food along with you.

In addition to the Utah’s Own foods available all year, there is a tremendous selection of seasonal produce being harvested this time of year.

What Seasonal Produce is Available?

This list is in no particular order, and not every item on the list will be available at every market or grocery store, but local farms are picking all of the following right now:

  • Peaches: Is there anything like a fresh Utah peach? Most peaches in Utah are grown in Box Elder and Utah counties, but small orchards in other areas are still around and still producing great fruit. Varieties you are likely to see this week include Suncrest, Early Elberta, Diamond Princess, Red Globe and others.
  • Watermelon: Green River watermelons are plentiful this time of year. Many farms in other parts of the state also grow the sweet juicy fruit. While most watermelons have the traditional red flesh, some farms grow yellow, orange and even white watermelons. Cantaloupe and other melons are also in season and available now from local farms.
  • Apples: Some of the first fall apples are being harvested throughout Utah now and include Early Gold, Ginger Gold, and Gala. Right around the corner are Jonathan, MacIntosh and others.
  • Tomatoes: Whether you are partial to a red slicing tomato, one of the many heirloom varieties that offer different colors, shapes, sizes, and tastes, or you prefer cherry size tomatoes you can pop in your mouth like candy, there are plenty of choices right now.
  • Cucumbers: Most people think of the 8-inch long green slicing cucumber, but there are several shapes, sizes and colors of cucumbers also available from local farms right now. Try an Armenian or lemon cucumber for example. They still have familiar cucumber taste with a different look.
  • Squash: Summer squash is still producing and some farms are already starting to harvest winter squashes such as spaghetti and butternut.
  • Kale and Swiss Chard: Most leafy greens don’t do well in the heat of summer and are usually only grown in Utah as spring and fall crops. kale and Swiss chard are exceptions. They do well all summer.
  • Other leafy greens: Collards, mustards, sorrel and arugula starting to show up again. Spinach and lettuces probably won’t be too plentiful beyond those farms that are growing in climate controlled conditions. But soon they will be readily available again.
  • Pears: Pears such as Bartlett and Asian varieties are starting to be harvested locally.
  • Potatoes: Some of the best potatoes south of Idaho are grown in Davis County near the Great Salt Lake. Other farms throughout Utah also grow amazing potatoes, including the traditional russet and redskin white potatoes, Yukon Gold, All Blue and more. Buy some fresh potatoes, you’ll notice the difference.
  • Onions: Red, white and yellow onions are fairly easy to find this time of year. They are so good.
  • Herbs: Basil, cilantro, mint, thyme and many other herbs are available from several local farms.
  • Sweet Corn: What Labor Day produce list would be complete without fresh corn? Local Utah corn is amazing. Enough said.

While the above list may not be complete, and it doesn’t include meats, eggs, dairy products, baked goods and wonderful packaged foods available from local farms and companies, hopefully it is enough to get your mouth watering and motivate you to buy local.