As summer winds down and crops are being harvested, there is still a lot going on at the farmer’s markets in Southern Ontario. Here are some observations about what’s happening this week:
- Strawberries – I’ve been ignoring strawberries since June, when they were at their traditional seasonal peak. I’ve seen them at one of the markets throughout the summer and assumed that they were some sort of import or hydroponic strawberry. I finally asked one of the vendors what the story is. It turns out that they’re a type of strawberry called Everbearing. Everbearing strawberries are grown just like traditional June Bearing strawberry plants (ie, in fields) but they produce berries throughout the summer. I bought a few to see how they compared to June Bearing strawberries but unfortunately the batch I got were sour and white in the middle. However, that may have been an anomaly so if I see them again, I might give them another try.
- Other Fruit – Apples are turning up everywhere but I think of them more as an autumn fruit so I haven’t purchased any for cooking yet. Once the days cool down a bit, I will be testing some great apple recipes such as tarts, crumbles and applesauce. I did buy some honeycrisps and cortland apples for eating last week and they were perfect – crisp, firm, tart and juicy. There were also lots of plums and pears, which I will be experimenting with in the weeks to come.
- Herbs – There was an abundance of herbs available, especially basil. They were being sold in bunches with the roots still attached. This is ideal for making large batches of pesto to freeze or can. For a tasty pesto recipe, see Ricotta Gnocchi with Pesto.
- Tomatoes, Corn and Peppers – The tomatoes I picked up yesterday were some of the best I’ve tried this summer. They were juicy and sweet, unlike some of the mealy ones I had gotten earlier in the season. Corn is still abundant, as are green and red peppers. I picked up some red shepherd peppers and despite their crazy shape, they were very sweet. For a great Roasted Red Pepper Soup recipe, you can check out one I developed for Suite101.com. If you you’re looking for tomato recipes, why don’t you try a Caprese Salad, Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Tomato and Ricotta Tart, Corn and Tomato Salad or Slow Roasted Tomatoes (I really like tomatoes, if you hadn’t noticed!)
It’s a great time to enjoy the abundance of the season so take advantage of it if you can!