Friday, August 15, 2008
Growing up in the Garden State, I gained a great appreciation for this time of year- gardens and groves are at their peak, and local produce abounds in heaps of corn, apples, peaches, cucumbers... they've been basking in the sun all summer, and now, finally are ready for consumption.
The best tasting of any of the above items I've sampled, were from local farmer's markets, road-side fruit and veggie stands, and wooden tables set up in driveways, offering the freshest from a cared-for garden or private family farm.
Yes, I was blessed with the garden goodness that is New Jersey. But wherever you live, there's likely an opportunity for you to support local farmers and their goods. By buying local, you support your local economy and cut back on the harmful effects of transportation. Hell, go all out: bike to a local farmer's market, load up veggies, herbs, fruits, honey, etc! in a canvas bag from the folks who grew 'em, and have yourself an eco-picnic in the late summer sun.
In celebration of my favorite time of year, here's a few of my personally favorite ways to enjoy late summer produce:
Peaches and cream
Toast a piece of pound cake or angel food cake in a toaster oven and place in a dessert bowl. Slice up a large juicy peach and add to bowl with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Add the zest of a lemon over top and eat slowly with eyes closed.
Easier than pie: Peel and slice up fresh cucumbers and mix with desired amount of mayonnaise, chopped fresh mint, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Refrigerate for about an hour, and enjoy the cool savory treat.
If they’re ripe, juicy and in season, just sprinkle a bit of salt on a wedge and eat alone! Or, create a tri-color salad by slicing and layering with mozzarella and avocado slices. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and chopped basil. Just before eating, add a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Corn on the cob with butter
Pretty self explanatory, huh? Grill up some corn, and serve with creamy, high quality (full fat! No substitutes!) churned butter. (Preferably bought at a farmer’s market) It’s the real thing :)