I love summer!
For all of the opportunities that summer presents. Long walks on a nice day, an early morning run in the park, picnics, farmers markets and a garden full of vegetables! There is nothing better than locally grown fresh produce, whether it is in your garden or grown by a local farm. Produce picked at it’s peak, sold locally packs a flavorful punch. Eating a bowl of locally grown melon never disappoints. The same can be said for just about any variety of fruit of vegetable.
Find out what is in season locally in your state here:
Once you know what is in season where you are, check out your local farmers market or make a visit directly to a local farm if they have a retail set up. It doesn’t get any more local than that. Even in urban areas, local farms can be found. Not only are you supporting a local family by buying local produce, you are also cutting the fuel consumption required to get you your food. Once you find a source of local produce – sometimes it is even at your local grocery or co-op, turn to the web and your plant-strong cookbooks to find recipes using the produce that is in season. A recipe made with produce grown and picked locally will provide you with far better flavor than something that was grown on the other side of the equator, picked weeks ago and traveled thousands of miles to get to your plate in the dead of winter.
Summer also means keeping it simple! Who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen when you could be out enjoying the day? Keep recipes really simple, and even better – stick to single ingredients when you can. Fresh corn on the cob, a bowl of strawberries, steamed new potatoes, and a big green salad with fresh tomatoes – all requires no recipe at all. Enjoying each flavor, the nuances of sweetness in the corn, creamy potatoes, a bit of earthy tomato with spicy greens like arugula and the sweet tart bite of a strawberry – is a perfect summer meal. Why make it any more complicated than that?
Need a recipe for a picnic? Or maybe an easy lunch to take to work? How about a big bowl of this Mexican Melon Salad?
4 cups cubed melon
(I used watermelon and lemon drop melon – any melon will do)
4 diced green onions
1 can no salt added black beans drained and rinsed
1 ear of corn -cut off the cob
1/2 cup fresh lime juice -approximately 2 limes
Cayenne and cumin to taste
Combine in bowl, toss and serve.
Plan ahead this summer, try new produce when you have the chance! Enjoy each visit to the farmers market and talk to the vendors and other patrons, like minded folks with great plans for the produce they grew or the produce they are there to buy. You might walk away with a new recipe idea or even a new friend! Where better to meet other plant-strong folks – than at a produce market! Maybe you are receiving a CSA share this year, an adventure in a box awaits you each week. What will you do with your share? Growing your own veggies this summer? Show us your produce! Let us know what you have harvested and how you plan to use it. Make it an adventure!