Summer produce is different from region to region across the globe. In some regions like Thailand, the summers are lovely - humid and sticky but lovely. There's an abundance of fruits and vegetables at that time. In others like Rajasthan, the summers are harsh and dry. There's hardly any produce growing due to excess heat. This post is about summers that are abundant with produce, just like they are in New Jersey and its surrounding areas.
Image by Paul Morley from unsplash.com
In early summer, here in New Jersey and its surrounding areas, the farmers markets and CSAs come alive bringing fresh produce directly from farms to people. I love visiting the local farmer's markets here in New Jersey but my favorite one has got to be the Union Square Greenmarket. They have farmers from all over the New York and New Jersey region bringing in their fresh produce for people to buy. Just take your own bag and keep cash handy. So, what's available?
Here in New York and its surrounding areas, the local markets are filled with berries of all kinds, cherries, plums, nectarines, currants and peaches in summer. In India, summer is all about mangoes, bananas, peaches, oranges, watermelons, and cantaloupes... let's not forget coconut water too (available all along the Indian coastline)!
At the beginning of the season here in NY, you will get asparagus, lettuce, mesclun, beet greens, rhubarb, zucchini, cucumbers, summer squash, baby radishes, spinach, etc.
Mid season, you will get tomatoes, broccoli, corn, cabbage, peppers, fava beans, rainbow chard, fresh peas, and herbs such as basil and cilantro.
Towards the end of the season, you will get cauliflower, potatoes, eggplant, collard greens, celery, and leek.
Summer is also striped sea bass and tuna season.
NOTE: In India, in addition to all these vegetables, you get ghia (bottle gourd), karela (bitter gourd), bhindi (okra), tori (ridge gourd), and a lot many other gourds.
As you can see, nature's produce is mostly above ground produce in the form of shoots, vegetables, and fruits this season. It's the perfect time of the year to eat the rainbow and get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
NOTE: If you live in North America and would like to see what's growing near you this time of the year, check out: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org
You can also check out https://www.grownyc.org/seafoodharvestcalendar and https://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/whatsavailable
If you aren't in North America, check online resources to help you identify seasonal local produce. If you don't find anything useful, I encourage you to visit a local or farmer's market and buy your produce from there. When in doubt, ask the person selling the produce. One way to tell if something is in season and is local is the price of the vegetable/fruit. A seasonal and local vegetable or fruit will be cheaper compared to a seasonal vegetable/fruit that has been flown in from another region. Well, organic produce will still be costlier than non-organic produce (for obvious reasons) but as you keep buying seasonal produce, you will get a hang of it.