Jun 25, 2020

What’s in Season: Summer at the Farmer’s Market

I love to eat “veggie heavy” recipes during summer months when it’s too hot to turn on the stove.

There is nothing like juicy summer tomatoes that pair perfectly with tangy mozzarella for a no-cook recipe on a hot summer night. Summer is also a great time for grilling! Gather friends and family outside for some pool time and games in the backyard. Pair vegetables with burgers, steak or seafood like in this Jalapeño Popper Burger recipe. Take advantage of edible flowers and freshly chopped herbs like basil to add pretty garnishes to your dishes. Get more inspiration for summer holiday grilling here!

I gained a new appreciation for “stone fruits” like juicy nectarines and peaches while writing my first cookbook, Share + Savor. I had written a recipe using peaches, and when it came to the photography I waited until October to take photos of the salsa recipe which included peaches. That was a huge mistake! Did you know peaches are one fruit you can’t find out of season no matter how many grocery stores you go to? Cue panic mode! Don’t tell anyone, but in one photo I had to substitute the last plum I could find for peaches – thank you Photoshop!

The other night I had a conversation with my husband, Aaron, about our favorite summer fruits and vegetables. He automatically thinks of fresh, sweet California strawberries and creamy, ripe avocados while I always think about New Jersey’s juicy tomatoes and sweet, crisp corn on the cob. I have to remind people that it’s called the Garden State for a reason!

Summer is my favorite time for produce; it conjures up memories of driving with the windows down on back roads and stopping at one of the numerous farm stands that dotted my New Jersey hometown of Long Valley. While the exact seasonality can depend on your location, follow my guide for some of the best tasting fruit and vegetables spanning the summer months from June to September.

What’s in Season: Summer at the Farmer’s Market

Why cook with seasonal produce? 

These days there are an abundance of ingredients that are available year-round in grocery stores. I never gave it much thought until I spent time working with Chef Anne Willan. She emphasized the importance of using seasonal ingredients. The benefit of this practice is that you end up with ingredients at their peak. No more white tomatoes or gritty apples, eating food at its ripest gives you the best quality ingredients to cook with.

Using seasonal ingredients also benefits the environment, since by eating what is in season locally means that produce doesn’t have to be shipped around the world. This isn’t to say I don’t still indulge in imported ingredients. But there has to be some give and take, and I try to be mindful of that.

What is this?

While this is in no way a complete comprehensive list of all seasonal produce, my goal is to highlight a few ingredients that shine during each season. Keep in mind that for the most part seasonality of vegetables and fruits can differ between geographical regions. To search your location and see all produce in season monthly by state, check out this chart: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org

What’s in season in summer? 

Recipe ideas for seasonal summer produce: 

Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

This summer quinoa salad recipe is packed with seasonal ingredients like zucchini, corn, tomatoes in this vegetarian dish.

Blackberry Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Think of these as cinnamon rolls with a fruity twist. Sweet dough is swirled with blackberry filling, baked and topped with cream cheese frosting.

Elote-Style Sweet Corn Ravioli in Chili Butter Sauce

This summery recipe combines the delicious flavors of grilled Mexican street corn, elote, into ravioli.

Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Veggie Salad with Burrata and Basil Vinaigrette

This summery salad is filled with grilled chicken thighs, squash and tomato with herby basil vinaigrette topped off with creamy burrata over a bed of lettuce.

Homemade Tart Cherry Honey Granola

Store-bought granola can be expensive and full of added sugars. I prefer to make my own, tailoring it exactly to my tastes, and using just a few ingredients. In this granola, I use dried fruit, specifically Montmorency tart cherries.

Peach Cornbread Upside-Down Cake

Sweet sliced peaches are arranged in the bottom of a cake pan and topped with a sweet cornbread cake mixture. The peaches caramelize in the butter and brown sugar mixture and make for an elegant cake topping.

One-Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken Thighs with Peaches

The peaches add a sweet taste to the marinated chicken thighs while the tomatoes add fresh and juicy flavor contrasting cooked and fresh ingredients for a thoroughly summer dish.

Summer Lobster and Corn Rigatoni

This summer seafood pasta combines some of my favorite East coast flavors into one dish.

Cherry Tomato “Naked Bruschetta” Crostini

I like to think of this as “naked bruschetta ” because the cherry tomatoes are so juicy and flavorful you don’t need any other flavors, they just enhance the flavors that are already there.

Summer Fruit Salad with Burrata & Prosciutto

A fresh summer fruit salad also goes great with a side of grilled bread and is a great way to start a summer gathering.

Watermelon Salad with Grains and Grilled Halloumi Cheese

This is the perfect summer salad for your next BBQ; it combines sweet watermelon and corn with nutty grains, toasted walnuts and grilled halloumi cheese.

Strawberry Balsamic Shortcake with Basil

Flakey and buttery biscuits are served with macerated strawberries and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Brûlée Peaches with Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits & Whipped Cream

This southern twist on strawberry shortcake uses juicy yellow peaches and cornmeal based biscuits, perfect for hot summer nights.

HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA CAPRESE SANDWICH

Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich

Caprese sandwich with ciabatta bread with fresh pesto, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes and sweet balsamic glaze.

Chipotle BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

This salad is one of my favorites to whip together for a quick weeknight salad that is actually filling enough to be a meal.

Raspberry Pie with Shortbread Crust

Shortbread crusted pie with a sticky sweet raspberry filling is perfect paired with ice cream for a summer dessert.

Brown Butter Scallops with Watermelon, Heirloom Tomato, Pickled Shallots & Serrano

Seared scallops served in a nutty brown butter sauce that contrasts with the fresh, sweet taste of watermelon and spicy Serrano pepper for a fresh & simple summer dinner.

Grilled Peach and Blackberry Cobbler | Fourth of July Menu Ideas

Grilled Peach and Blackberry Cobbler with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

In this recipe the peaches are grilled to add extra depth of flavor; they become slightly caramelized and smoky on the grill.

HEIRLOOM TOMATO CAPRESE SALAD WITH GRILLED BREAD

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Grilled Bread

Use fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic if possible.

Other Seasonal Guides

If you enjoy these recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Get more end of summer food ideas here.

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  1. Oh wow those heirloom tomatoes look incredible and the little eggplants! I can’t wait for spring here to get back to eating this wonderful fresh veggies.