What’s Ripe Now? Summer Bounties from Local Farms

 

Woman With Peaches Soft Edgeby Susie Ruth

Shopping at local farmers’ markets and with community supported agriculture suppliers are two simple ways to shorten the distance between ourselves and nutritious foods. When we buy fresh food locally, we eat well, support local farmers, encourage diversity of available foods, preempt polluting long-distance transport (typically up to 1,500 miles or more) and keep money working hard in our own community. It’s fun to see and sample what’s coming into season; we can even buy enough goodies to freeze for later. Plus, it’s a perfect venue to consult with the folks growing our food and to meet up with neighbors.

It’s no wonder that the Department of Agriculture reports that the number of farmers’ markets continues to grow, reaching 4,685 last August. That represents a 56 percent rise since the Agricultural Marketing Service first counted 3,000 farmers’ markets nationwide in 1994.

Local Harvest, a website that maintains a nationwide directory of small farms, farmers’ markets and other local food sources, notes that, while a small farm may not be certified organic, many alternately advertise as pesticide-free or no-spray. Just ask.

Following is a region-by-region guide to tasty picks in July and August.

The Northeast

Blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cucumbers, nectarines, onions, radishes, scallions, snap beans, summer squash and sweet corn.

The South

Arugula, butter beans, cherries, collard, guava, Indian corn, mangos, okra, papaya, tomatoes and Vidalia onions.

The Midwest

Apricots, artichokes, beets, chard, horseradish, kohlrabi, mint, peas, scallions, snap beans and spinach.

The Southwest

Blackberries, blueberries, figs, garlic, peaches, pears, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, watermelon and white
tamale corn.

The Northwest

Asparagus, boysenberries, cherries, eggplant, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, rhubarb, strawberries and turnips.

The West

Apricots, artichokes, Asian pears, fava beans, figs, mulberries, passion fruit, purslane and  Valencia oranges.

List source: Vegetarian Times

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