You know that moment when you walk into the farmers’ market and you’re almost overwhelmed by all the glorious fruits and veggies piled up everywhere you look? Yeah, we’re there. If my trip to the farmers’ market last weekend is any indication, we’ve hit peak produce production. I highly recommend grabbing the extra-large tote, then taking a trip to see and taste everything your local farmers have to offer. Be on the lookout for these six amazing fruits and veggies, then come home and enjoy my favorite ways to make them shine.
Peaches: It’s not summer until you’ve eaten a peach. Look for peaches with a yellow or cream background color on their skin (not green undertones). If you’re going to eat them right away or within a few days, look for peaches that yield to gentle pressure along their seams and are slightly soft. But avoid any that feel very soft—nothing is sadder than a rotten peach. Once you’ve got ’em home, try them in these crunchy, custardy Creamy Layered Peach Squares. Or you could go more traditional with peach cobblers, too! Check out our other peach recipes.
Tomatoes: Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes make their way into almost every meal during the summer. Let your eyes be your guide when choosing them: Richly colored and free of blemishes and squishy parts are your best bet. Ripe tomatoes will also feel heavy and smell like, well, tomatoes. There’s no need to make things complicated—my favorite way to serve up these gems is in a simple Cherry Tomato & Basil Salad. Get more ideas for fresh tomatoes.
Cucumbers: Crisp and refreshing cucumbers are having their last hurrah right now. Get the most out of the bumper crop by picking firm, smooth, dark green cucumbers. Try them in this Cucumber-Onion Salad—parsley, red onions and mustard are the perfect complement to cucumbers’ mild flavor. See more options for cucumber salad.
Peppers: Sweet and crunchy, peppers are one of my staple vegetables all year round, but right now they’re at their best. I’m especially into poblano peppers lately. They have a smoky kick and a little heat, but they’re not nearly as intense as those little chili peppers you’ll also find in abundance right now. Because they’re about the same size as a bell pepper, they’re perfect for stuffing! Try this traditional Mexican take: Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Chiles Rellenos). Or, go in a soupier direction with my next favorite poblano pepper recipe.
Zucchini: If you’ve never grown them yourself, you may not realize that when they hit their stride, zucchini grows like weeds! Get in on the bounty by looking for small or medium-size zucchini that feel firm and heavy, with smooth, even-colored skin. You may want to stock up because there’s just about nothing a zucchini can’t do, but if I have to pick just one recipe, I’m all about this Summer Squash Pizza right now. If I don’t have to pick just one, I would go with all of these beauteous zucchini recipes.
Eggplant: Perhaps the most voluptuous veggie (though technically it’s a fruit), the eggplant’s beautiful color and meaty texture make it a summertime mainstay at my house. When you’re selecting them, look for small or medium-size eggplant, which will have fewer seeds and are less bitter so you don’t have to deal with salting and draining them. They should feel heavy for their size and have smooth, glossy skin and green caps and stems. This simple version of the classic always gets rave reviews at my house: Skillet Eggplant Parmesan. Or try one of these delicious eggplant recipes.
Looking for even more ideas for fresh fruits and veggies? Check out more of our favorite farmers’ market-inspired recipes.