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What seasonal foods do you look forward to?

  • f

For some reason I can almost taste a North Carolina vine ripened tomato right now, sliced and eaten on toasted ciabatta with Duke's mayo and salt and pepper. I lived on them one summer before I had my daughter. They are coming into season at some point here, I had a local greenhouse one that was pretty good in a basil and buffalo mozzarella salad the other day and I think that spurred this on.
What kinds of local foods do you essentially live on when they're in season?

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  1. Cherries. And champagne mangoes.

    2 Replies
      1. Watermelon. So lovely and fresh.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GraceW

          Definitely watermelon. But also corn, tomatoes, artichokes, berries and (later in the year) squash.

        2. I live in Loudoun County VA. Peaches and tomatoes!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bob W

            Oh yeah, peaches and nectarines, too!

            1. re: EWSflash

              And when we go over to Delaware for our annual beach vacation, corn, cantaloupe, watermelon, and lima beans too!

              1. re: Bob W

                It's all starting to sound good now!

          2. Asparagus, cherries, and blueberries.

              1. Ramps, tomatoes and soft-shell crabs.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dontcallmethefword

                  Yes, Yes, and Yes. Also, asparagus in the spring and cheap lobsters in the early fall. Oh, and striped bass.

                2. Anything that is truly in season. I have learned a lot about what that means by shopping at my farmers' market which does not allow anything grown outside of the state. Not perfect, but not bad.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: escondido123

                    I do that here in Europe, too -- the bonus is that whatever's local and in season is also cheap.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      My farmer's market is 50 miles. I love shopping so local, but then I sneak off for the other stuff, too.

                    2. I love fresh tomatoes. They taste so good when they are perfectly ripe. I can't wait! If it's a rainy summer evening and it's just me, I can make mac and cheese with pepper flakes and one of the sides will almost always be tomatoes roasted with a little balsamic vinegar. The other side will probably be spinach or broccoli.

                      1. california brooks and rainier cherries (spring) and grapes (fall).

                        dungeness crabs during the winter.

                        1. Corn on the cob when it peaks. Last year was very unusual here in Penna. Decent corn on the fourth of july. Something to do with the heavy snow. I eat several ears of corn and think of it as the main dish. A small amount of almost anything just to break up the corn a little. And pick them yourself raspberries. The song that goes "the corn is as high as an elephant's eye." was written here in Pa. (Oh what a beautiful morning)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            corn on the cob and sliced fresh tomatoes are just about the perfect summertime meal in my book. Half the time I either forget about or don't want the chicken/ribs/whatever that came off the grill.

                          2. Corn on the cob. Tomatoes. White asparagus from Germany. Chanterelles. King trumpet mushrooms. Mâche. Cherries. Blueberries. Champagne mangoes.

                            1. Really any of the fresh vegetables from the garden...especially d'maters!!! ~~~ In the fall, fresh mustard/turnip greens picked on a frosty morn....

                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                    Oh no Uncle Bob, open your mouth for those delictable morsels!!!

                                    1. re: JEN10

                                      Ya need not worry....my mouth will be wide open all summer! ~~ I wouldn't be surprised if some of them didn't wind up dressed with a Comeback Sauce and lump crab meat....Wouldn't be surprised a-tall

                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                        Ok what is comeback sauce? Crabmeat? I gotta get me some of that, do you use it plain or fix it up a bit?

                                        1. re: JEN10

                                          It's the "Mother Sauce" of Mississippi...Created by Alix Dennery of the old Rotisserie Restaurant in Jackson many, many moons ago....Google it.~ You will find hundreds of Copy Cat recipes..variations on a theme etc....A few of them even close to the original.

                                          Make up a batch...Fry your green tomatoes...shingle them on a plate...top with Come Back and lay on the lump crab meat....Or you can stack them...with sauce and crab meat in between each layer...then top out with sauce and crab....Very delish and rich appetizer!

                                1. I try to buy seasonally as best I can.

                                  But things to particularly look foward to - asparagus, cherries, cobnuts, raspberries. These are the things we only buy when in local season.

                                  And, of course, buying fish at the fishmonger pretty much guarantees you can buy seasonal.

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: linguafood


                                      Particularly tasty whilst still young and the nut hasnt properly formed. Quite sharp then and very different for the ripened nut.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        interesting. had never, ever heard of them.

                                  1. Corn on the cob, Ranier cherries, peaches and champagne mangoes.

                                    1. Morels, grilled corn on the cob, tomatoes.

                                      1. California Navel oranges

                                        1. Plant City strawberries.........

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: srsone


                                            When I lived in Fl. I always made a yearly pilgrimage to Parksdale for strawberry shortcake!

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              strawberry milkshakes with chunks of strawberries that plug up your straw.

                                          2. Asparagus, peas, tomatoes, strawberries, and watermelon!

                                            1. Tomatoes of course
                                              Corn on the c ob
                                              soft shell crab
                                              greasy beans
                                              spring onions
                                              creek shrimp

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: LaLa

                                                Greasy beans are made with the small top part of a country ham, is that correct?
                                                Somebody told me once about an old boy he bought a country ham from on the phone, and at the last minute the man told him about greasy beans, and told him how to make them. Fred had never heard of it which was a surprise.

                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                  They are an actual heirloom bean. They are grown a lot in Eastern Ky, Eastern Tn and Western NC. I prefer the "lazy wife" but wont pass up any of the other!

                                                  Here is more:
                                                  Greasys are so prized in the mountain south that an Appalachian bride's trousseau would traditionally have included a few seeds from her family's unique strain of beans. Such devoted guardianship has produced an unmatched diversity of greasy beans in the North Carolina and Kentucky highlands, with more than 30 known varieties still cultivated on small patches of mountain land.

                                                  Each greasy has its own peculiar set of characteristics: the Johnson County bean is skinny as a sleazy mustache, the Lazy Wife bean is long enough to cross a dinner plate and the Brown Speckled bean is -- wait for it -- brown and speckled. Bill Best, an heirloom seed seller who was honored by the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2003 for his work preserving traditional bean culture, is partial to the gorgeously textured White Cut-Short.

                                                  But all greasys share one common attribute: They aren't greasy. The name refers to the hairless beans' slick appearance, not their taste. Greasy beans' disappearance from the collective Appalachian larder results not from any shortcomings in their flavor, but a pervasive preference for beans that don't require "unzipping," in mountain parlance. Even those mountain dwellers who don't mind having to shuck their beans the old-fashioned way tend to romanticize half-runners, a hardy bean that began dominating the Southern market in the mid-20th century.

                                                  "They say these half-runners are the things to have," Caylor says with a hint of a scoff. "Round here, they're common as can be. But for those of us who care about our food, having fresh greasy beans for dinner is very meaningful."

                                                  Caylor prepares his greasy beans in the time-tested way, salted and cooked down with a hunk of pork. Cooking time is a matter of debate among greasy fans: "Some like a little brightness to the bean and some like them beaned to death," Caylor says.

                                                  But before folks can fix greasys, they first have to find them. Certain roadside stands and tailgate markets are about the only outlets for greasy beans: Caylor sells his beans for $40 a bushel on Craigslist. He doesn't anticipate his beans will appear on restaurant menus anytime soon.

                                                  "I think chefs are too busy to worry about side dishes," he says. "These are just humble little hillbilly beans. But if chefs knew how to do something with them, they're feisty."

                                                  Feistier still are the beans' fans, determined to prevent greasys from slipping away. This may be the summer to join their ranks: Greasy bean season starts next month.

                                                  1. re: LaLa

                                                    Wow- I had no idea. Thanks so much for the explanation, now i"m going to go look through some heirloom seed catalogs until I find some.

                                                2. re: LaLa

                                                  LaLa, did you get you some softshells? I did- a bunch all over town. They were really good!

                                                3. Cherries, (especially Rainier Cherries)
                                                  Hatch Peppers
                                                  Fresh Purple Hull and Cream Peas

                                                  Fresh Peppers and Tomatoes from my garden.

                                                  1. Fresh tomatoes, green beans, squash, zuchinni, eggplant, corn, okra, watermellon, peaches.

                                                    Soft shell crab, shrimp

                                                    1. Blueberries
                                                      Spinach ( I just had the first of this season's spinach for lunch today - it was glorious!)
                                                      Fall greens (like collards and chard)

                                                      1. asparagus, ranier cherries,strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn on the cob, local apples, maple syrup when it first comes in

                                                        1. sugar snap peas fresh from the garden (don't EVER cook them!)
                                                          fiddleheads picked streamside
                                                          rhubarb (baked into a custard pie)
                                                          my mom's balsamic/basil marinated tomatoes
                                                          fresh corn any way but best with lime juice and salt
                                                          apple cider
                                                          melon melon melon melon (all kinds!)
                                                          new potatoes and baby peas simmered in cream (first taste of summer in New England!)
                                                          brook trout coated in cornmeal and panfried in bacon fat.
                                                          wild blueberries
                                                          hard-won blackberries (taste best with lots of scrapes on your arms)
                                                          fresh strawberries dipped in sour cream then brown sugar
                                                          I feel so lucky to have grown up in a family that relishes fantastic fresh simple food!

                                                          1. chestnuts
                                                            copper river salmon
                                                            (well, they are local SOMEWHERE)

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Is there someplace in the US where you can get fresh huitlacoche? I can see it as something that gets banned on account of what it is, essentially a corn crop invasion.

                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                Roy Burns in Groveland, FL, grows 2 corn crops annually on 7 acres, in the middle of a large parcel of old family property, distanced from any corn growers. He "infects" every stalk, by hand, with the spores, which he buys from a University laboratory. It is an incredibly tedious process, and the processing of the "harvest" is even moreso. I promised not to take pictures or disclose his ingenious process techniques. He does this for love and passion.

                                                                And you are right, the USDA has spent millions to eradicate this former blight, now luxury, by underwriting the development of resistant seed strains, as they subsidize endless other corn strains, including stuff for you gas tank.

                                                                Roy is perhaps unique in the US, and he admits that plying his same efforts in Iowa, upwind from a large corn farm, he would have long since been a victim of an "accident". There are no bans or restrictions to what he is doing, curiously.

                                                                Find him at 352-429-4048 and connect with an eccentric, highly entertaining genius. I am trying to assist him, pro bono. The world needs Roy's huitlacoche.

                                                                He met me for the first time last October, gave me a 2 hour tour, 6 fresh ears of huitlacoche, and 3 pounds of frozen, and wouldn't take a dime from me. A class act.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  Thank you- I'm going to give him a call. I can find canned huitlacoche here but I imagine it would be much better fresh or dried (like mushrooms) and have never seen either.

                                                              2. re: Veggo

                                                                Oh, chestnuts! I eat them practically every day in the winter.

                                                              3. Tomatoes, peaches and nectarines. and strawberries. manila mangoes. Favas and green garbanzos.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                  Oh yes, just finished fava and fresh garbanzo season here. Yum.

                                                                2. Right now, ASPARAGUS direct from the farm

                                                                  The perennial herbs that are growing like crazy due to all that blasted rain we've had

                                                                  And home grown lettuce.

                                                                  In a month, strawberries until I'm sick of them

                                                                  1. With a little schadenfreude, I'm enjoying from a safe distance the season's crop of exploding watermelons in China, because of a rainy season but mostly because they were overfed growth hormones. Bang! There goes another one...

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      I hope somebody posts a video clip on youtube...

                                                                    2. Washington State cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and apricots.

                                                                      1. I just realized I didn't mention by all time favorite, FIGS! We go through about 2 months of figs and there is one guy at the Farmers' Market who sells the ones from his "yard" and he has them all. Favorite recipe is split them open, sprinkle with pecans, then Roquefort, then chopped proscuitto--bake in very hot oven or not too hot broiler until cheese melts and meat sizzles.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                          It's nearly impossible to get locally grown figs here, but I remember visiting relatives on the west coast in the summer and gorging on figs. Amazing. (Though of course it can have side effects, like eating too many apricots...)

                                                                        2. all of them! haha

                                                                          every season holds a new food that I can't wait to eat.
                                                                          right now, it's soft shell crabs, very soon it will be local strawberries (they put the ones you buy in the grocery store to SHAME)

                                                                          This summer it will be corn and jersey tomatoes and basil and jersey peaches, and blueberries and sour cherries
                                                                          in the fall it's wonderful crisp apples and pears,
                                                                          winter squashes, and winter greens

                                                                          1. I bought the first cherries and apricots today (and they're GOOD)

                                                                            1. Fruit, especially stone fruits. Absolutely delicious biting into a perfectly ripe piece with the juices running all over the place.

                                                                                1. Wild mushrooms, anyone...can't wait for the first chanterelles and boletus. We're a little far to the East, and alot colder, so morrels are out of the question. Strangely enough, mushrooms here on the Gaspé Penisula arrive at the same time as the scallop fishermen...go figure!

                                                                                  1. well, for health reasons i can't indulge in all of them as much as i'd like, but the things i anticipate most:
                                                                                    - corn
                                                                                    - tomatoes
                                                                                    - blueberries
                                                                                    - strawberries
                                                                                    - figs
                                                                                    - cherries
                                                                                    - melon
                                                                                    - asparagus
                                                                                    - green garbanzos
                                                                                    - fava beans
                                                                                    - meyer lemons
                                                                                    - blood oranges
                                                                                    - apricots
                                                                                    - nectarines
                                                                                    - plums

                                                                                    1. I couldn't afford to live on cobia but I dearly love the few weeks every spring when they're running in local fisheries.

                                                                                      1. Fruits, especially lychees and peaches, and softshell crabs.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          OYSTERS! they have a season, too, and its all too short.

                                                                                        2. Fiddlehead ferns
                                                                                          Hard-shell lobsters - had some last Friday night!

                                                                                          1. Really good corn on the cob thrown on the grill. We're still waiting for corn season. Fresh peaches come to mind and ripe, ripe watermelon that nearly bursts when you put a knife to it.

                                                                                            1. Spring—favas, fresh garbanzos, green garlic, and English peas. Late spring—cherries. Summer—nectarines and off-my-tree Blenheim 'cots, homegrown purple Cherokee tomatoes, Armenian cukes and padròn and Shishito peppers. Fall—Fuju persimmons (from my tree and every untended tree in town) and Fuji apples. Winter—the sweetest leeks, carrots, parsnips and red grapefruit and locally foraged chanterelles. And then it starts all over again...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                And I forgot winter with its dungeness crabs off the boat at Moss Landing.

                                                                                              2. Dear friends and neighbors, please note that NOBODY says zucchini!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. Rain or shine, I try to visit the local farmer's market weekly and especially look forward to the first week in May when the cherries are available, especially the rainiers. I also like apriums and still waiting for the first crop of the different varieties of pluots.

                                                                                                  1. I always love the first sign of local asparagus, as it means the peas and favas and morels are around the corner. The last few years our cherries and apricots have been late, but lovely once they've arrived and gone far too soon.
                                                                                                    When eggplant arrives at the market I know Summer is really here and I start looking for the Padrons and corn to round out my meals.
                                                                                                    Tomatoes are a treat noone seems to tire of, and I love to enjoy them with the local basil we get in Summer and the fresh burrata, which to me says Summer as well.
                                                                                                    Last September I neglected to roast a case of Hatch chiles for the freezer. I hope to never make that mistake again as my pozole this winter sure could have used that smoky, green goodness.
                                                                                                    In the fall I am always happy to see figs and eventually our Meyer lemons. The muscat and concord grapes make the end of Summer easier to take too.
                                                                                                    Pomegranites and Hachiyas reminde me the holidays are near and our citrus keeps something bright on the table as the days darken. Especially those irresistable Kishus.
                                                                                                    We are lucky in Northern California, in that every season has it's beauties. I enjoy reaquainting myself each time the weather changes.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                      Qu'est-ce c'est a Kishu and where can I get some?

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Kishu's are the most delicious teeny-tiny seedless tangerine ever. Golf ball size and smaller.
                                                                                                        We get them in January (for New Years if we're lucky) and then find them at Monterey Market for a few months.
                                                                                                        They peel so easily and are just so sweet and delicious. Great for children because they are so small and easy to eat.
                                                                                                        They come out of Ojai, from Jim Churchill. I just checked and it looks like they ship around the country too.

                                                                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                          Hey Mister Tangerineman send some fruit to me...just signed up for email alert!
                                                                                                          You Berkeleyans with your Monterey Market...sniff sniff...

                                                                                                    2. Tomatoes and figs from my garden.
                                                                                                      Local peaches.
                                                                                                      Roasted chestnuts.
                                                                                                      Soft shell crabs.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        tomatoes from the garden, lettuces from my mom's garden, peaches, strawberries and corn on the cob