In Season

In the Midwest, this is the perfect time of year to buy local and in-season produce. My parents plant this amazing garden each year on my grandpa's farm. It is full of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, summer squash, lettuce and zucchini. There is always an over-abundance of yummy produce, so I get buckets and buckets of fresh produce.

You can also buy local and fresh produce at the grocery store. Most grocery stores bring in local produce from farms close to the store. You can tell by the number on the sticker of your favorite produce how it is grown. If the number begins with a 4 it is conventionally grown, 9 means it is organic and 8 means it is genetically modified. Always buy 4 and 9's when possible. Your local farmers market is another avenue for buying locally grown produce, meats and eggs.

Some of my favorite quick and easy summer recipes for fresh produce:

*Tomato, basil salad: chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, red onion slices, balsamic vinegar and fresh cracked pepper. Serve alone or on top of a toasted baguette, grilled white fish or a chicken breast.
*Fresh cucumber salad: Cucumber slices, red onion slices, apple cider vinegar and a little bit of sugar. Let marinate overnight and all the flavors will incorporate.
*Grilled summer squash slices: Slice summer squash in pieces large enough to sit on the grill, brush with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

All of these are perfect compliments to a summer meal and all are fresh and delicious!