1. Make a list of the fruits and vegetables you and your family enjoy eating. Find out when they are in season in your region. Seek out farmers’/farmers’ markets in your area and become a regular, and you will learn what is in season by what is there each week.
2. Make a list of new fruits/vegetables you and your family might like to try. When you see them in season, buy a small amount, and prepare them as simply as possible. I relied heavily on the Joy of Cooking at this stage, with its basic master recipes for each item. We taste-tested a dozen new fruits and vegetables during the growing season, and were pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed foods we had previously disliked (cooked poorly, out of season).
3. Make a list of foods your family will really, truly miss when they are out-of-season. Then look for options on how to have those foods without buying them fresh at the grocery store off-season. Canned and frozen are the easiest way to start, either by canning and freezing your own, or buying canned/frozen instead of fresh at the grocery store.
There will be foods that are never locally grown or in season. Coffee and bananas are not produced in New England, but we still consume them. I try to buy them from local vendors when I can, rather than corporate supermarkets. Citrus fruit is not grown in New England, so I try to a)eat it when it’s in season in Florida, and b)buy from local vendors.
There are exceptions I will make, from time to time, for someone’s special day or a special meal. But so many foods are so much better when in season locally, that we don’t even want them from the grocery store. They’re just not as flavorful.
4. Take your time. This is a big change in the way many of us grew up eating, and it can be a bit of a shock to realize how many out-of-season foods we have taken for granted for our entire lives. The flip side of that coin is, when our favorite foods come back into season locally, we enjoy them with such pleasure and appreciation, we take care not to waste anything, and feel truly grateful to have such a bountiful feast spread before us each year.