I love living in the Pioneer Valley through all four seasons - but spring and summer bring with them a bounty of local produce that are the icing on the cake! I love buying seasonal produce at local farm stands, the Northampton Farmer's Market (plus the Florence Farmer's market and Tuesday Market), the River Valley Coop, even State Street, Cooper's Corner and larger supermarkets carry some local produce this time of year. Of course there's also the option of taking a farm share at one of our local CSAs - there are many to choose from in the Northampton area.
I feel my inner chef start to rear her head once the Hadley Grass (asparagus) hits the local markets in the spring. And rarely does a summer dinner go by that doesn't include grilled local corn, asparagus, or squash, a Caprese salad, grilled fish or meat with bountiful salads, desserts made with berries or peaches, or a bowlful of chilled watermelon to fight the summer humidity! I thought this article from The Kitchn which hit my inbox today, did a great job of making suggestions about what to eat in the summer. I might advise against eating ones' weight in ice cream, but otherwise....
50 Things You Need to Eat by the End of Summer
There are many iterations of the summer bucket list. Some include going to the beach, hiking, or watching the fireflies outside on the back porch. All crucial to the season, yes, but so is eating all the delicious things the warm weather brings. It seems there aren't enough hours in the long, sunny days to consume all the fresh produce, burgers, and ice cream cones the summer entails. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try!
Here are the 50 foods we think absolutely must be eaten before the season comes to a close. This is our summer food bucket list.
(Image credit: Brie Passano)
All the Tomatoes
We forgo those mealy, tasteless tomatoes at the grocery store the entire year in anticipation of the sweet, juicy orbs that hit farmers market stalls mid-summer — and it's completely worth the wait. Once they arrive, it's a seasonal requirement to consume as many as you can, in every shape, size, and color, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Icon: 1-Minute Tomato Sandwich
When tomatoes are this good, they don't need to be fussed with too much. The iconic summer sandwich celebrates their sweetness and requires no more than 60 seconds to assemble, which means you should have time to eat at least a few before the season is over.
Read more: 5 Things to Do with a Pound of Tomatoes
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
Eat Your Weight in Ice Cream
An ice cream a day might not keep the doctor away, but it will make for one seriously delicious summer. For the sake of the season, up your consumption. That means ice cream in cones, cups, smashed between cookies, and made into cake. Oh, and other icy treats should be enjoyed too, so don't bypass the Popsicles.
Your Challenge: Make the Best Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
Definitely hit your local ice cream shop and open the freezer case at the grocery store multiple times, but also try making your own quart this summer. Creamy, rich chocolate is a great place to start.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
Eat Everything That's Hot Off the Grill
Our grills are perpetually fired up all summer long, and we wouldn't have it any other way. It keeps the heat out of the kitchen, and everything from meat to fish to vegetables tastes better after being cooked on one. Toss as many things as you can on the grill while the weather allows it.
The New Classic: Easy Lemongrass Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken is a summer standby for most households, but this season bring a new recipe to the roster. This smoky, savory chicken is extra aromatic, thanks to the addition of lemongrass, and adds just the right amount of flair to your summer weeknight dinners.
(Image credit: Christine Han)
Eat Bucketfuls of the Juiciest, Sweetest Fruit
That is strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, melons, and more. Eat all of it and eat as much of it as you can. Inhale them fresh, with the juices running down your arms, and then transform them into the desserts you crave.
The Crowd-Pleaser: How To Make a Fruit Cobbler by Heart
A juicy, sticky cobbler is a true celebration of the season. All it asks of you is that you pile as much fresh fruit as you can get your hands on and serve it warm with plenty of vanilla ice cream.
(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)
Eat Plenty of Light and Easy No-Cook Meals
One of the greatest pleasures of summer is just how fuss-free it is. This applies to what you cook in the season too. Instead of meals that require slow-simmering or excessive roasting, summer meals are light and easy. Embrace this before the weather turns chilly and you do want to stay inside all day and cook a stew. Relish meals that don't require any cooking at all, like salads and chilled soups, and yet are just as satisfying as those that have you crank up the oven.
The Seasonal Standby: Farmers Market Salad
This colorful salad is a catch-all for whatever you may discover on your farmers market strolls this summer. That means it's one you can, and should, turn to over and over again throughout the season.