Guide to Stockton’s growing seasons
To everything, there is a season. Except for the wondrous edibles that are grown year-round.
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The San Joaquin Valley is the most productive growing region in the entire world, growing more than 250 different crops that can be found at the numerous farm stands and farmers' markets in the area.
Stockton's amazing produce is available throughout the year, but some items are only grown at certain times. To make sure you won't be in for any surprises when you visit the farm, farm stand or farmers' market, take a look at what you can expect in Stockton's fields during each season.
Spring tends to kick off the growing season with Stockton's famous asparagus popping up in February and continuing through June, which accounts for 70% of the nation's fresh market asparagus.
In fact, asparagus played a large role in landing Stockton on the agricultural map in 1852 and has grown to be one of California's largest crops. It can now be found growing on 15,000 acres of prime farmland.
Select berries also start coming in this time of year, including strawberries in March and cherries in April.
Right on the cusp of summer, sometime in May, farm stands begin offering stone fruits, including apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums. More berries begin appearing as well, like blueberries.
Summer means longer days and more farmers' markets opening up. Joining the spring offerings are figs, grapes, melons, summer squash and tomatoes.
You'll find that along with the bounty of summer appearing on stands, many local restaurants take advantage of the seasonal produce, and from Central California to the Bay Area and beyond, Stockton's best influences restaurant menus.
As the warm weather lingers in the Central Valley even as other parts of the country begin to cool off, pears and pomegranates begin to arrive as other fruits begin to dwindle.
Much of winter's produce production lies in various varieties of winter squash. Stuffed, souped or used as home décor, winter squash is surprisingly versatile and an excellent, long-lasting choice for visitors looking to bring back some of Stockton's best.
Delicious items including nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and apples, which are harvested during select months, are available in Stockton's Central Valley region of California throughout the year.
From fruit stands that dot the growing fields to celebrated farmers' markets, the fruits and vegetables grown in the rich soil of San Joaquin County change with the season and are enjoyed both locally and all over the world.