The Event Planner’s Guide to Seasonal Eating

What to serve up each season

Living in a technologically advanced society is a pretty cool thing. With a few swipes on a smartphone, you can instantly summon a car, Chinese takeout or even someone to do your laundry. You can also drop into a Whole Foods during any month of the year and find a wealthy selection of raspberries, oranges, spinach and asparagus. 

But even though almost all types of produce can be grown somewhere on the globe all year long (and be available for a reasonable price), does that necessarily mean we should be buying and consuming them?   

Aside from the elevated carbon emissions and the overall cost to truck bundles and bundles of produce across continents and even oceans, eating out-of-season produce may actually be less healthy for you than eating in-season fruits and veggies. And according to Chef Brad Nelson, VP of Culinary for Marriott International, your attendees are beginning to pick up on this, too. 

“Whereas the focus used to be on gluten-free or organic, nowadays we’re seeing a push toward seasonal eating,” explains Nelson. “It has become increasingly important for our guests to know that their food has been grown, transported and prepared in an eco-friendly manner.”  

Winter, spring, summer or fall––we break down what to serve up each season. 

Spring

The classic season of birth and bloom, springtime produce is all about emerging fruits and veggies from the garden and farm. And while you’re likely to find more tangy, tasty vegetables (like artichoke, asparagus and leeks) than juicy fruits during these months, the options for healthy, hearty dishes are endless.  

What to order:

  • Artichokes 
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus 
  • Avocados 
  • Mangoes 
  • Peas 
  • Spinach 
  • Leeks 
  • Fennel 

Summer:

From picnic baskets to backyard barbecues, chances are you know the summer foods already. Whereas springtime produce is only beginning to emerge from the ground, summer veggies and fruits are in full bloom––and the juices are flowing. Offer a variety of fresh fruit trays during and in between meetings for guests to pick from. 

What to serve:

Tomatoes 
Zucchini 
Watermelon
Oranges 
Cantaloupe and honeydew
Peaches
Nectarines 
Blackberries and raspberries 

Fall

From cranberries to figs to apples and sweet potatoes, fall fruits and veggies are inherently juicy and saturated with flavor––making them perfect for sweet, hearty desserts and ingredients in main courses. 

What to serve:

Apples 
Cranberries 
Figs 
Pears
Pomegranates 
Pumpkins 
Rutabagas 
Squash
Sweet potatoes 

Winter:

While most of us tend to associate winter with frosted cookies, pies and other flour-based treats, the type of produce that thrives during this season is seriously underrated. From tangy parsnips to flavor-packed onions, these ground-grown veggies make a great base for any meat or pasta dish. 

What to serve: 

Cabbage (yes, you heard that right––cabbage loves cold-weather climates)
Brussels sprouts 
Winter squash 
Potatoes 
Onions 
Beets 
Turnips 
Parsnips 
Radicchio