Can you feel it? Summer is just about upon us. The sun is a little warmer, the bare winter landscapes have become a distant memory and the pools and beaches are beckoning. The month of June is the forerunner of the season, and with it comes another food celebration. National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month has arrived. Who designated it as such? We don’t know, but what a wonderful time to pay homage to the bounty of fresh, healthy and delicious food that is beginning to make an appearance in our local markets.
We speak about shopping at local farmer’s markets a great deal. Doing so is good for the local economy, the environment and the myriad of health benefits derived from eating the freshest foods available. Some of the fresh seasonal vegetables, grown locally in late May and throughout the month’s of June and July, include green beans, sweet potatoes, asparagus, spinach and cauliflower. Fresh fruit abounds, with strawberries still going strong. Add to them raspberries, cherries and a variety of sweet juicy melons, and you have a recipe for healthy and delicious dining for some time to come. Our favorite grilled vegetable recipe is at the end of this writing. The fruit speaks for itself.
The Sustainable Table has a wonderful website to peruse, with a seasonal harvest calendar, as well as a map search to locate all of the farmer’s markets in your area; whether east coast or west. Don’t discount the supermarket chains. Many of them partner with local growers to support sustainable agriculture. Here in North Carolina, Lowe’s Foods is such a chain. The next time you shop, ask the store manager whether your favorite chain does the same. Another terific way to enjoy your outdoor space is to plant your own. Just about every garden center will have starter plants and trees available. Burpee, a leader in the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds, also sells plants. Check their website for seasonal availability in your area.
And now, for your summer dining pleasure, we give you our grilled vegetable recipe…
Summer on a Plate Grilled Vegetables
- 1 medium sized summer squash, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 sliced vidalia onion
- 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped
- 3 ears of corn, cut into 3″ pieces
- 1 dozen cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of butter
Combine the prepared vegetables and spices with the olive oil and toss to coat thoroughly. Prepare a large double sheet of aluminum foil, dotting the surface with the butter and place the vegetable mixture on top. Fold the foil over the vegetables and seal as tightly as possible. When your grill is at medium heat, put the foil package on the grill, cover and cook for approximately 25 minutes, turning the corn once. When the corn is tender, it’s time to serve and revel in the season. This recipe will serve six to eight hungry people. Enjoy!