The best produce to buy at farmers markets in August
As summer draws to a close, we round up eight seasonal summer picks for your must-have shopping list.
August is arguably the best time of year to visit your local farmer’s market. We asked experts from three countries around the world – the United States, Israel and England – to let us know what's hot in their locales at this time of year. Check out the list below before heading out to the market this month!
“The tomatoes are the star right now,” Lauren Carey, manager of the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market in Atlanta, told From The Grapevine. Carey encouraged “thinking outside the box about the way you can use them.” From funky heirloom tomatoes to cheerful cherry tomatoes, you’ll find tons of variety this time of year. For cooking inspiration, Carey suggested checking out the sample recipes on the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market’s website. You can also catch a live demonstration from a different Atlanta chef each week.
2. Chanterelle mushrooms
These bizarre-looking mushrooms are a “true delicacy,” Carey said. If you love mushrooms, pick up some of these seasonal treats to add earthy undertones to your summer sauces and soups. Here is an extensive guide on how to use these funky fungi. Consider trying your hand at a roasted chanterelle and tomato tartine, a recipe from Chef E.J. Hodgkinson of the King & Duke Restaurant in Atlanta.
At markets around the world, cherries abound! Be sure to scoop these up during the last few weeks that they are available. “[W]e are at the tail end of this year’s cherry season, but everyone here loves cherries,” said Joel Haber, a licensed guide in Israel who organizes culinary tours. Summer desserts prove to be perfect fodder for cherry-themed baked goods including cherry frangipane tarts and fresh cherry pies.
Whether you are making guacamole or garnishing your favorite summer margarita, add limes to your summer shopping list. And fair warning: the season for limes can be short. “So get them now and freeze the juice, or quartered fruit," Haber suggests, "so you can use it for the rest of the year.”
5. Summer squash
Zucchini and summer yellow squash are superb at markets all over now. In Israel, you’ll find a unique variation on squash that are called Armenian cucumbers.. “[They] look like light-colored, hairy cucumbers," Haber said. "Absolutely refreshing and delicious. Crisp, moist and refreshing – the taste of summer in Israel.”
Bring on the berries, which are super sweet and delightfully juicy this time of year. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, all kinds of berries. In London, the berry offerings are a little more exotic. “Gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, plus black, white and red currants are juicy and ripe right now," Celia Brooks, a food writer and founder of Gastrotours London Food Tours, told From The Grapevine. "All the fruit and veg stalls at Borough Market are gushing right now with berries and greens.”
Peaches have a short but sweet window in July and August. At most markets, come early to make sure you get your pick of the best peaches. On the hottest days, nothing tastes better than a juicy peach. Peaches are sweet and refreshing, with just the right amount of natural sugar to put a spring in your step. Try these peach cobbler muffins or prepare a peach sangria for a summer happy hour cocktail.
With their deep purple hue, eggplants are an extraordinary farmer’s market purchase during the summer. If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavors, take advantage of the elegant eggplant’s prevalence. Make a classic charred eggplant salad or try this simple twist on eggplant parmesan.
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