Garden to Table - What to do with your first garden harvest
We're about half way through June and the first summer crops are beginning to come from your garden, show up at farm stands on the roadside, and appear in your CSA boxes. For me, this summer veggie harvest is one of the checkpoints that I mark the seasons by. It makes me so excited to go out, meet my farmers, and cook some amazing picnic and barbecue meals.
Where to Get Your Summer Veg and Why
During the summer more than any other time of year, there are countless options for where to get vegetables. There's the classic grocery store, the farmer's market, farm stands, CSAs, and even your own backyard! As a socially-conscious, sustainably-minded consumer, this number of choices for where to support my community and the environment can be a bit overwhelming.
In my mind, the best way to approach this issue is to find a balance. In summer, I try to eliminate the grocery store all together. After that, I've been known to utilize farm stands when on the road for picking up a healthy and delicious snack. I think a regular shipment of veg from a CSA can be great for inspiring creative cooking in the summer. By participating in a CSA, I can support local farmers by providing up front the resources and security that they need to efficiently run their farm in a sustainable and ethical manner. They can be better able to pay employees a living wage and focus on bettering growing practices for the environment and the flavor of their food. I opt in for a share that is about half the amount of food that my family will eat. Then, for the other half of our family's veggies, I grow our staples like spinach and herbs in my garden and go to the farmer's market for everything else. This is a great opportunity to get exposed to new produce that I've never seen before, meet my local farmers and artisans, and give back to the community, while also learning how to grow food and feeling more connected to the land.
I hope that these tips can help you find a method that works with your schedule and goals for sustainable living at home.
My Favorite Summer Dishes
So, now that you've decided where to get your food, it's time to get creative and figure out what to do with it. Here are three of my favorite recipes for classic summer vegetables and some fun fair trade tools to serve them with.
First up, tapas! Tapas are so great because they typically are easy to make, show off only a few ingredients, and encourage conversation around a shared bowl. Try out Pan Con Tomate or Zanahorias Salinadas via this list of Brit+Co ideas. Plate your tapas in one of our tapas bowls and you're done!
We can't talk about great summer recipes without discussing grills and barbecues! Corn on the cob in a savory herb butter, baked beans, burgers with fresh lettuce and tomato - it simply can't be beat. Similarly to tapas, grill food is great for gathering with friends and family and making memories. Add to the fun with our new potholders.
Last but not least, so many summer veggies are best served raw. One of my favorite parts of summer is harvesting from my backyard garden and immediately making a fresh salad for dinner. Add to the feeling of living off the land with natural materials for your serving utensils like these wooden salad servers.
Share with us in the comments what you like to do with summer veggies and where your favorite place to find them is!