Want to dabble in permaculture? I can't think of a better first step than adding a fruit trees into the landscape. Whether you only have room for a few potted citrus and peach trees on a porch, or want to create a living fence or edible arbor for a large space, fruit trees are an easy way to grow a bit of your own food with minimal long-term tending.
Here in the South, the challenge is often getting the right fruit trees for the climate. Many fruit trees require a certain number of "chill hours" to know that winter has passed and it's time to start blooming. There is a range for each time of fruit, but beyond that a particular fruit can have a wide variation. Take apples, for example. The Israeli varietal Ein Shemer requires only 350-400 chill hours each winter, while most others require upward of 750. If you live in a warm climate and buy a varietal that requires too many chill hours, you will probably have a healthy tree -- but will only get fruit on perhaps the coldest of years. If you are in a cold climate and buy a low chill hour tree, the problem gets worse: you're likely to get beautiful blooms far too early in the spring, which will be levelled by a killing frost. Ouch.
Thankfully, most nurseries tend to cater toward the middle of the road, and have the higher chill hour fruit that most of the country needs. The best solution for gardeners in warmer climates is to learn your chill hours and buy accordingly. And when I say local, I mean: your neighborhood. Here in Austin, chill hours vary by as much as +/- 100 depending on what part of town you're in.
Big box stores often insufficiently adjust their stock for local needs, and I've even had trouble getting the best varietals for my particular part of town at my beloved local nurseries here in Austin, so you may need to consider buying online. Desert dwellers may want to take a peek at the Phoenix Permaculture Guild's online fruit tree sale, which continues through the end of the week, and of course there are a number of commercial online resellers. The important thing is to do your research, find the best spot for the tree, dig the best hole for that tree you can, and actually plant it. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. But the second best time is now.