Summer freshness is in the air, which means fresh local produce and products are abundant too! We share our favorite local seasonal finds and the best ways to incorporate them into your summer:
Didn’t have time to hone in on your green thumb this year? Join a local CSA with a flower share to have new blooms on the weekly! Display your arrangements inside, or out. If you have an anniversary or birthday to celebrate this summer a flower share also makes a great gift!
The quintessential food of summer, the tomato, is seemingly a whole different fruit the rest of the year, so make sure you fill up on the heirloom varieties while they are at their peak. Classics like Caprese salad, or BLT’s and grilled burgers become instant summer hits with heirlooms. Try combining the heirlooms with another summer favorite, watermelon, for a refreshing side. For a show stopping summer dish, make a beautiful heirloom tart with different verities. Or, blend them up for a chilled summer soup, add crab or lobster for a five star upgrade.
Eggplant is often the summer veggie that gets pegged as a one-trick pony–but beyond eggplant parm there are plenty of ways serve up the international staple. Eggplant absorbs flavor and holds up well to spice. Dishes like eggplant and harissa, baba ghanoush, or melitzanosalata, a Greek roasted eggplant dip, let this veggie shine. Eggplant can be fried, roasted, sautéed, or grilled for maxim flavor.
There is no better way to top off a summer dish then with a flourish of fresh herbs. Aside from using summer herbs as a garnish, try blending them in summer soups, adding them to fruit salads for brighter flavors, muddling herbs with cocktails or lemonade, and adding to desserts for intriguing flavors.
Cherries, peaches, and nectarines are in thier juicy prime in summer. These stone fruits pair with more than sweets. They balance chutneys and salsas with sweet and spicy flavors; they bring out the natural sweetness in pork dishes, and cut the richness in richer meats like duck and lamb. Of course there are few desserts better than a summer peach cobbler, cherries jubilee, or stone fruit preserves on ice cream.
Honey is nature’s best sweetener and in the summer can be used beyond the occasional drizzle. When buying local honey it is worth spending the extra few dollars for the craftsmanship, and the nutty flavor depth that comes with it. Use local honey for sweet and savory recipes, salad dressings, preparing scallops for the grill, add to grilled veggie pizzas, sweet and spicy chicken, or add to iced tea instead of sugar. However, sometimes all you need is sliced summer fruits with a touch of summer simplify.
What local finds are you most looking forward experimenting with at the farmers market this summer?