(Image credit: Peter Bogar)
As exciting as it may be to see table after table heaped with colorful fresh, local food during the growing season, it can also be overwhelming. And it's nearly impossible to eat all the seasonal produce you encounter, unless you've got a clan whose hunger and numbers are sizable (and tons of time on your hands). You gotta have a strategy and pick out the things that really count.
So, here's our take on the exclusive, seasonal, gotta-have-them items you absolutely should buy at the market when you see them.
1. Local honey
In the summer, local honey is great for sweetening homemade iced tea or whisking into salad dressings. Local honey can be completely unique, too — each batch a slightly different taste of your surrounding fields, flowers, and trees. If your local apiary at your farmers market sells bee pollen, consider yourself lucky; that's also a delicious delicacy.
2. Tomatoes, the good ones
Buying supermarket tomatoes in the summer is criminal. Most farmers grow a wide variety, and heirlooms — with their funky shapes, profiles, and varying tastes, from acidic to sweet — are an abundant guarantee of late summer's harvest. You simply cannot have enough tomatoes during the season. It's a mad dash to exhaust our options with them. If we are lucky, we have them for weeks on end and by the time they're done, we've exhausted our options — eating our share of them raw and roasted, plus making jams, sauce, and freezing some, too.
Rhubarb isn't something you're likely to find for months on end in the supermarket around the world. It's best paired with strawberries and tucked into pies, cobblers, crisps, and galettes; and works well in savory applications, such as chutneys and sauces. Rhubarb jam is a winner, too. It grows best in cool to warm conditions with reduces vigour during the cold winter months. The variously used stalks can be stored for up to two weeks!
4. Purple cauliflower
With the amazing purple color, it makes preparing and eating it way more fun and colourful on the table. A great way to makes your little ones eat their veggies. Make food art on a plate or make the perfect picture for your Instagram foodie followers.
Amazingly big watermelons, heaps of them sold from the back of a truck. In summer you will find them on almost every market. Get the freshly cut ones, straight from the growers and taste the difference in quality and in price!
Supermarket grapes have nothing on local grapes. They're typically smaller, more intensely flavored, and don't last long enough to end up in any kind of recipe. Most of the time they have seeds, too — so be prepared to deal with that. It's worth it.
7. Rainbow carrots
Colourful and healthy! They are in almost every color available. Deep purple, dark red, white and bright yellow are a stunning view on your plate and fun for the kids. Traditionally orange, but let's change it up sometime and choose your colour.
The biggest you can find! We are shocked to see such big ones on the markets.
But at least you get your money's worth.
Again, colourful and healthy! Well know as a green veggie, but can have more colours then that. You have to search for it, but it is out there.
10. Almost the ending of stone fruits season
The stone fruit season is almost over, now Autumn is here. But still you can find some if you look for it! Make a nice recipe on a large tray of fresh nectarines in red wine for dessert. They are great hot or cold, so you can enjoy them with ice cream also on hot Autumn days.