Summer is finally here and with it, a whole host of fruits and vegetables are coming into season in Ireland.

Irish produce really comes into its own during the summer months, with fabulous tomatoes, new potatoes and asparagus all at their best. We love seeing the first Wexford strawberries pop up on shelves (or at stalls on the side of the street), as they are the true herald of Irish summertime; even if the rain is pouring down outside!

However, we have noticed that a lot of produce has been coming into season earlier this year, which we're putting down to the unseasonably warm weather we've had lately. Climate change has had a definite impact on the way our food grows here in Ireland and it seems that anything could come into season at any point. 

Below we have listed out what is traditionally in season in June as well as what should be coming out of season and top tips from Colm O'Driscoll, head gardener at Airfield Estate in Dundrum. Read on to find out what produce is at its best in June.

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What's in season:

  • Asparagus
  • Aubergine
  • Basil 
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans 
  • Broccoli (green)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chives 
  • Coriander
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Elderflower
  • Endive
  • French beans
  • Garlic
  • Gooseberries
  • Lettuce (lollo rosso, iceberg)
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • New season potatoes
  • Pak choi
  • Parsley 
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Sage
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Thyme

Asparagus it at its best right now Image: Getty Images.

Asparagus it at its best right now Image: Getty Images.

What's going out of season:

  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Sprouts

What's coming into season soon:

  • Blackberries
  • Celery 
  • Courgette
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mangetout
  • Raspberries
  • Swedes

What to plant in June:

  • Courgettes
  • Chicory
  • Fennel
  • Pumpkin 
  • Squash

June is a good time to plant courgettes. Image: Getty Images.

June is a good time to plant courgettes. Image: Getty Images.

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Why buy in season

Seasonality is so important because it helps you make sure you're getting the best out of the produce that's available to you. Our farmers and growers around the country strive year round to make sure that the food that reaches us is of the best quality possible, so it makes sense to ensure you buy at the right time. Food markets and farmers' markets are great resources to help make sure you buy in season as the stallholders usually stock the best of the best. Some of our favourite markets are on in the following places:

  • People's Park Market, Dún Laoghaire, Sundays 10.00-16.00
  • Clonakilty Market, Cork, Fridays 9.00-14.00
  • The Village Market, Galway, Tuesdays 10.00-18.00
  • Dingle Farmers' Market, Kerry, Fridays 9.00-15.00
  • Market Square, Portlaoise, Fridays 10.00-15.00
  • Red Door Market, Limerick, Saturdays 10.00-15.00
  • Mayo Castlebar Farmers Market Fridays 9.00-18.00
  • Local Food Market, Meath, Saturdays 10.00-14.00

Grower's tips

To find out more about buying seasonal ingredients in June, we spoke to Colm O'Driscoll, head gardener at Airfield Estate in Dundrum. Seasonality is hugely important for the Estate as the produce grown on the land is then used in the kitchens, with most of the eggs, dairy, fruit vegetables and meat reared and grown on-site in Dundrum.

Colm told us that coming into June, an abundance of crops usually start to pop up. 

"June is a pretty diverse month when it comes to what crops are in season. We are very much exiting the 'hunger gap' often associated with spring and starting to enter the productive months of summer. June tends to start with an abundance of leafy greens and soft herbs supplemented by high-value crops like asparagus, globe artichokes and strawberries. Foraged elderflower is at its peak in early June in the hedgerows throughout the estate.

As the month progresses gooseberries, currants and highly desirable peaches also come on stream. Courgettes and cucumbers also start producing this month, while we often have the first taste of fresh organic tomatoes at the end of June. Our over-wintered onion and garlic will also be harvested at the end of the month, as will quick maturing crops such as beetroot, radish and turnips."

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As climate change has become such a prevalent issue here in Ireland, we've seen the seasons change and crops mature earlier than expected. When we asked Colm about this, he said that this year hadn't seen many surprises but that the dry spring had brought some challenges.

"It was another relatively dry spring, which brings its own challenges, but we learned from last year so we feel better equipped to cope with drier weather. We always mulch our beds which helps conserve moisture in the soil and helps reduce the amount of irrigation we need to carry out. It is still early in the growing season and there is still plenty of time for surprises but hopefully, we have planned well enough in advance to mitigate the effects. We hope that the care and attention we have paid to our soil over the year will ensure our crops have all they require to grow healthy and strong. At the end of the day, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and she always knows best." 

With all the produce from the Estate used in Overends Kitchen, seasonality is particularly important to this farm. Colm told us that chef Luke Mathews and his team rely on the produce to produce delicious food, with minimal waste, which is key to helping the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.

"One of the most obvious reasons to eat seasonally is that you will get fresh tasting food, full of nutrients and flavour. If the food is grown locally, its carbon footprint will also be considerably reduced. Eating seasonally also makes you appreciate the diverse range and tastes of foods that can be grown in our climate; The flavour of a peach picked straight from the tree in June is a completely different experience to one shop bought in December. Even run of the mill vegetables such as turnips can taste completely different when picked fresh and in season. Eating seasonally helps you connect more with the changing season and helps keep you in tune with nature."

What seasonal ingredients will you be enjoying in June? Let us know in the comments below.

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