Shelby Carroll: Savoring the summertime harvest: A guide to seasonal produce

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 18, 2024

By Shelby Carroll
N.C. Cooperative Extension

As the sun-soaked days of summer unfold, nature generously bestows upon us a cornucopia of vibrant fruits and vegetables, each bursting with flavor. From berries to crisp greens, the summer harvest offers an array of produce.

1. Juicy tomatoes: An essential summer favorite, ripe tomatoes are at their peak during the warm months. Whether enjoyed sliced and drizzled with olive oil, tossed into salads, or roasted to perfection, these sun-ripened gems are bursting with flavor.

2. Sweet corn: Nothing says summer quite like the taste of freshly picked sweet corn. Whether grilled on the cob, added to salsas and salads, or incorporated into creamy chowders, sweet corn adds a touch of sweetness and crunch to any dish.

3. Luscious berries: From plump strawberries to juicy blueberries and raspberries, summer brings an abundance of sweet and tart berries to the table. Bursting with antioxidants and vitamins, these colorful gems are perfect for snacking, baking or adding a pop of flavor to desserts and breakfasts.

4. Crisp greens: While hearty greens like kale and chard thrive in cooler weather, summer offers an abundance of tender salad greens such as spinach, arugula and lettuce. Perfect for refreshing salads, sandwiches and wraps, these greens add a burst of freshness and nutrients to any meal.

5. Fragrant herbs: Summer’s warm temperatures bring herbs like basil, mint and cilantro to flourish, infusing dishes with their aromatic flavors and aromas. Whether used to make pesto, garnish grilled meats and seafood.

6. Crisp cucumbers: Cool and refreshing, cucumbers are a staple of summer salads, sandwiches and chilled soups. With their crisp texture and mild flavor, cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to summer dishes and help beat the heat on hot days.

Be sure to be on the lookout for these warm season crops at your local farmers markets this summer!

Shelby Carroll is agriculture and natural resources agent with the Rowan County Extension.

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