Your Local Guide to Winter Produce

root vegetables

Northwest Seasonal Guide

Chard grows well in the Northwest, so enjoy the tasty green boiled, braised or sautéed this winter. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The Pacific Northwest is the perfect environment for this versatile green. While greens like chard can be grown all year round in Northwestern climates, it is traditionally harvested from May through February – meaning early winter is the perfect time to pick up some fresh and in-season greens for your table.

HOW TO USE: Like other greens, chard can be served raw but is usually boiled, braised or sautéed and served hot. Try sautéing your chard with a little olive oil and garlic for a clean flavor, or substitute chard in your favorite recipes for other greens.

RECIPE: Famous chef, foodie and culinary pioneer James Beard was born in Portland, Ore. So, naturally he had a few great recipes up his sleeve for some of the regions best seasonal classics, including chard. Check out his Gratin of Greens recipe, which features spinach, chard and zucchini.


This tasty green is fairly interchangeable with chard in recipes, but each has a subtly distinct flavor. Like its cousin, kale can be grown all year long in the Northwest but is usually harvested from May through February. Give both greens a try and see which you like best.

HOW TO USE: Kale is slightly heartier than chard. So, expect it to take a little more time to cook. Other than that, kale works great in the same recipes you use chard. Try out both greens and pick your fave.

RECIPE: Chef Robin Leventhal owns and operates the popular Seattle bistro Crave, and she gained national fame when she became a contestant on season six of Bravo’s hit Top Chef. Check out her recipe for a Burger with Egg, Crispy Kale, Carrot Salad and Almond Laced Cookie – it’s proof that greens don’t have to be boring.


Apples are the No. 1 crop produced in Washington, and many hail the tasty Washington apple as the best apple in the country. Though these fibrous fruits are traditionally harvested in the fall season, they can be stored for several months – meaning you don’t have to wait until next spring to find a local Washington apple.

HOW TO USE: Serve your apples up raw by themselves or with some peanut butter or caramel for a tasty snack, or use raw apples in some of your favorite salads. These tasty fruits can also be boiled for applesauce or candied for a sweet treat. Apples are also great for baked goods like cakes, breads and pies and can be used to season savory dishes like chicken and ham.

RECIPE: The Washington State Apple Commission has cooking with apples down to a science. Try out their recipe for Apple Ratatouille on Crostini, and give the family apples like they’ve never had them before.

Next: Southwest Seasonal Guide

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Mary Mazzoni
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  1. Excellent article with links to many helpful resources. Being from the northeast, I forget sometimes that even in winter there are locally grown produce options. Thanks!

  2. Very comprehensive and fun reading. Never mind about eating meat, though. with today’s food technology we can enjoy the taste of different meats without eating dead animals.
    dont eat fish either. they are killed in a horrible manner.
    let us stick to creative uses of vegs and fruits ( I do eat cheese) that are locally produced as Mary’s article espouses.

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