7 CAN'T MISS SUMMER FARMER'S MARKET PICKS
If you see any of these items at your local Farmer's Market this summer...
BUY THEM AND EAT THEM!!!
This is the best of the best.
Vegetables and fruits which have been growing for months.
Lovingly cultivated and ready to be enjoyed at their peak.
Eat them naked & raw or be inspired by the recipe ideas below.
Only happens once a year!
Don't miss out...
1. Vine-ripened Cantaloupe
You've NEVER had cantaloupe this good. I buy mine from Demases Farm and cannot WAIT for it to be ready!!
HOW TO TELL: The smell - can you smell the sweet as you approach your farmer's table? Is it heavy with water weight? Get ready for a juicy, sweet, intoxicating experience.
EAT IT LIKE THIS : I enjoy cantaloupe mixed up with savory flavors. Below...I grilled a big chunk of it after tossing in olive oil and cracked pepper and made a sandwich with basil, onion and bac'n bits. I maaaaay have made this sandwich multiple times last summer. On the right is a simple salad - cantaloupe tossed in lemon with red onion, spicy arugula and lavender sea salt. And I won't be mad if you cut it into full-sized slices, give it a little sprinkle of cinnamon and go to town.
2. Tree-ripened Figs
These are moan-inducing.
Truly the fruit of the gods. Each bite feels indulgent, kind of dirty - "Should I get this much pleasure from food?"
HOW TO TELL : They will be soft-ish. Delicate. Full-color. If you squeeze too hard, it will smush / burst.
EAT IT LIKE THIS : Don't do anything to them. Except maybe a little flaked sea salt, a drizzle of honey or dip into some melted very fine dark chocolate before each bite, if you want to take it next level. Only share with those you TRULY love.
3. Vine-ripened Tomatoes
I believe people who say they "don't like tomatoes" have never had a real farm fresh tomato. I mean...
Oh, the sweet pop! The bright-fruit mixed with a leafy-green-punch fragrance.
HOT TO TELL : Since tomatoes are produced in high volume with methods making them look good all year round, this comes down to a "know your farmer" situation. If yours is not sweet, is mealy, does not slice like butta or isn't juicy, you've been conned.
EAT IT LIKE THIS : Enjoy summer tomatoes simply - pop the cherries, bite into the full-sizes like an apple. Or slice and drizzle lemon or your favorite oil, add a little salt & pepper and eat with or on almost anything. Toss raw with pasta. If you have an excess, you can always roast them but I say - save the roasting for when you can't get summer fresh. Make sauces and freeze or can/jar some to preserve & enjoy the peak-flavor once they are long gone.
4. Squash Blossoms
Summer has us drowning in squash! Especially in warmer climates - they love the first heat of summer. The farmers will pull some squash blossoms which are a lovely little delicacy.
HOW TO TELL : This one is pretty self-explanatory. Use your eyes to spot them and eat 'em quickly, they will wilt fast.
EAT LIKE THIS : Squash blossoms ARE delicious as we see them on menus often - stuffed, battered and deep fried. But, of course, you are missing out on the tender blossoms' soft texture and beautiful color if you prepare them that way. You can also use them in salads, cut them up a bit and add to simple salsa or toss on top of nachos or in a quesadilla!
June is the month of the cherry in the USA. Another one that you simply MUST TRY if you have never had a fresh cherry before. A sexy little summer fruit, indeed.
HOW TO TELL : June is when they are in season. Don't even bother eating fresh cherries any other time of the year.
EAT LIKE THIS : Place in mouth, suck off all fruit, spit out seed. Repeat. De-pit and add to your favorite cocktail, salad, pizza, dessert, sandwich...anything. Make a pie. Or go to Emporium and eat a slice of theirs (pictured below, right).
Hot peppers, sweet peppers - we will start to see them in June and some will stick around through Fall, as they enjoy the hot weather. The first batch will be your eager bunch.
HOW TO TELL : Look for beautiful color, healthy + firm skin and a pepper scent.
EAT LIKE THIS : So many peppers, so many ways. Try adding some slices of raw spicy to anything to add kick (the seeds will always be hottest - remove to take away heat, leave some to enhance spice level). Pretty much ditto with sweet peppers. You can also stuff & roast any of them with anything or grill or sauté as a side or to add to fajitas, nachos or quesadillas.
7. Tree-ripened Peaches
Another fruit which is truly transformative during its peak season. Yes, you can get them all year round but they are never as perfect as in June & July.
HOW TO TELL : Peaches should stay on the tree until there is no green left on top of the fruit. Not too firm, not too soft. Test by giving a slight squeeze with your whole hand, a finger point will bruise them. Look for a well-defined crease. Use your nose to choose the best ones!!
EAT LIKE THIS : Another fruit I will make the center of, say, a sandwich. Make a peach and tomato salad or salsa. Eat with some almond-milk vanilla ice cream and a dollop of dark fudge for dessert. Add slices to anything. Below sandwich I did raw peach slices and arugula tossed in lemon with mozzarella on toasted sea salt ciabatta schmeared with spicy Goldrush mustard. Aces. HAPPY SUMMER!!!