Cheapest fruits to buy in California
California is known for its diverse and bountiful agriculture, producing a wide variety of fruits throughout the year. While the Golden State offers a multitude of fresh and delicious fruit options, some stand out as being particularly budget-friendly due to their local availability and the state's role as a major producer of these fruits. Whether you're a California resident or just passing through, you can often find affordable and delicious fruits to enjoy. In this guide, we'll explore some of the cheapest fruits to buy in California, helping you make the most of your grocery budget while indulging in the state's agricultural riches.
Apples: Apples are commonly grown in California and are often reasonably priced, especially during the apple season in the fall. In California, apples are generally in season from late summer through fall. The best time to buy apples in California is typically from late August to November. During this period, you'll find a wide variety of apple varieties at their peak of freshness and flavor. Keep in mind that specific apple varieties may have slightly different harvest times, so it's a good idea to check with local farmers' markets or orchards for the exact availability of your preferred apple variety. Buying apples during their peak season ensures that you get the best quality and flavor, and you'll likely find them at more affordable prices.
Early Season Apples (July to September) varieties like Gravenstein and Gala are typically available in late summer to early fall. Mid-Season Apples (September to November) are popular varieties like Fuji, Jonathan, and Braeburn are usually at their best during this period. Late-Season Apples (October to December) varieties like Granny Smith and Pink Lady are typically available from late fall into early winter.
Oranges: California is famous for its citrus fruits, including oranges. Oranges can be relatively inexpensive, particularly when they are in season. In California, oranges are in season from late fall to early spring. The best time to buy oranges in California is typically from November to April. This is when you'll find a wide variety of orange varieties at their peak of flavor and freshness.
Navel oranges, one of the most popular varieties, are typically in season from November to early spring, with their peak season typically occurring in December and January. Valencia oranges are typically available from late spring through summer, with their peak season occurring in the summer months.
Bananas: While not grown locally in California, bananas are widely available and are generally affordable year-round due to their importation. Bananas are imported into California from various tropical regions like Central America, South America, and some other parts of the world. Although, not local to the region, I wanted to include them just because they are one of the most produced fruits in the world and in turn are extremely cheap no matter where you go.
Grapes: Grapes are another fruit commonly grown in California, especially in regions like the San Joaquin Valley. You can often find reasonably priced grapes. Grapes are a significant agricultural product in California, and they are in season during the late summer and early fall months. The best time to buy grapes in California is typically from late July to early January, with the peak of the season occurring in late summer through early fall. During this period, you will find a wide variety of grape types, including table grapes and wine grapes, at their freshest and most flavorful.
Thompson Seedless is harvested from late July to early September, with the peak in August. Red Seedless Grapes (e.g., Flame, Crimson Seedless) are harvested from late August to October, with the peak in September. Black Seedless Grapes (e.g., Autumn Royal, Black Monukka) are harvested from late August to October, with the peak in September.
Strawberries: California is a major producer of strawberries, and they are available for purchase in the state for a significant portion of the year. However, the best time to buy strawberries in California typically falls within the late winter to early summer months. Here's a rough breakdown of the strawberry season in California
Peak Season (Spring) strawberries in California is from March to June. During these months, you'll find the largest variety of strawberry types and the sweetest, most flavorful strawberries. Many local strawberry festivals and events also occur during this time. Off-season (Fall and Winter) strawberries are available year-round in California, they are less abundant and may be less flavorful during the fall and winter months.
Kiwifruit: California is known for its kiwifruit production, particularly in the Central Valley. Kiwifruit can be relatively affordable during the season. In California, the best time to buy kiwi fruit is during its peak season, which generally falls between November and May.
The harvest of kiwi fruit typically begins in California in November. During this time, you may find early varieties of kiwi fruit available. The peak season for kiwi fruit in California is from December through March. This is when the majority of kiwi fruit varieties, including the more common green kiwi and the less common gold kiwi, are at their freshest and most flavorful. You'll have the widest selection during this time. While the peak season for kiwi fruit is during the winter months, you can still find kiwis available in California through April and May, these kiwi fruits are considered late season. However, the selection may become more limited as the season progresses.
Plums: Plums are another fruit that is grown in California, and you can often find them at reasonable prices, especially during the summer. The best time to buy plums in California typically falls within the late spring through the summer months. Here's a rough breakdown of the plum season in California.
Some early plum varieties may become available from May to June, although the selection is limited during this time. The peak season for plums in California is from June through August. During these months, a wide variety of plum types, including popular ones like Santa Rosa, Black Beauty, and Satsuma, are in season and at their best in terms of flavor and quality. While the peak season is during the summer, plums can still be found in California through August and even into September, but the selection may become more limited.
Watermelon: Watermelon can be cost-effective during the summer months when it's in season and readily available. The best time to buy watermelons in California is typically from late spring through early fall.
Some early varieties of watermelons may become available in California as early as May, although the selection is usually limited during this time. The peak season for watermelons in California is during the summer months, typically from June to August. This is when you'll find a wide variety of watermelon types, and they are at their sweetest and most flavorful. While the peak season is in the summer, watermelons can still be found in California through September, but the selection may become more limited and prices may spike a bit as the season progresses.
Cantaloupe: Like watermelon, cantaloupe is often affordable during the summer when it's in season. The best time to buy cantaloupes is from late spring to early fall.
With the seasons similar to watermelons, early varieties of cantaloupes may become available in California as early as May, although the selection is usually limited during this time. The peak season for cantaloupes in California is during the summer months, typically from June to August. This is when you'll find the widest variety of cantaloupe types, and they are at their sweetest and most flavorful. While the peak season is in the summer, cantaloupes can still be found in California through September, but the selection may become more limited as the season progresses.
Pears: Pears are grown in various parts of California, and their prices can be reasonable, particularly when they are in season in the late summer and fall.
Some early pear varieties, such as Bartlett pears, may become available in California as early as July, but the selection is usually limited during this time. The peak season for pears in California is from August through October. During these months, a wide variety of pear types, including Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, and Comice, are in season and at their best in terms of flavor and quality. While the peak season is during late summer and fall, pears can still be found in California through October and November, but the selection may become more limited as the season progresses.
Although fruits are relatively cheap depending on if they are locally grown, you may be able to find them at cheaper prices depending if they are in season or not. It is also a good habit to look up sales that are happening at your local grocery stores, with apps like Flipp available, this has become ten times easier. Always remember there are always ways to get items cheaper.
In conclusion, California's agricultural richness and climate diversity make it a prime location for producing a wide range of delicious and affordable fruits. When looking for budget-friendly fruit options in the state, consider apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, kiwifruit, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pears. These fruits are often reasonably priced, especially when in season, and locally sourced