As soon as the weather starts warming up, I begin scouring the roads for the many produce stands that dot the farmland of Lancaster County. Buying fresh and local fruits and vegetables is definitely a highlight of my summer — the crisp salads, juicy berries, and sweet watermelon that I crave on a scorching hot day and dream of all winter long.
Eating locally and in season is one of the best ways to support farms in your community in producing safe and healthy foods. Filling your fridge with produce straight from the farm rather than fruits and vegetables that have endured the long factory processes of packing, shipping and sitting on the shelf means you will enjoy the freshest and most nutritious tastes.
Besides, there is nothing that says “summer” more than walking down to your local farm stand for a bag of strawberries or green beans that was just picked that morning.
So what’s in season now that we can be enjoying at it’s freshest? Here’s a list for (some of) July’s produce along with my favorite ways to use them.
- Cucumbers. An easy, taste addition to salads, veggie juices, or veggie sandwich
- Tomatoes. Yum for fresh tomatoes in homemade salsa and sauce, or a simple tomato-basil sandwich
- Summer squash. So good cut and breaded as zucchini fries! Squash is amazingly versatile in veggie lasagna, “spaghetti”, stuffed squash, and grilled
- Corn. Corn on the cob! Roasted in the oven or over the grill!
- Green beans. Fresh green beans are sooo different from canned! They’re best sauteed in olive oil with almonds, and Green Bean Fries.
- Watermelon & Cantaloupe: Melon may be my favorite fruit of summer. I love it plain, with yogurt, over cereal, and in smoothies.
- Strawberries. In smoothies, muffins, cereal strawberry-poppyseed salad, these little gems are show-stoppers!
- Blueberries. Love, love, love in oatmeal and over yogurt (especially with watermelon!). Blueberry-banana is one of my favorite muffin and pancake combinations.
- Peaches: Perfect summer snack. This is a yummy peach muffin recipe.
Enjoy eating through this month and all summer long! We’ll be missing fresh and local produce over the winter, so let’s take advantage of it now.