Summer is officially here. Farmers’ markets are buzzing (did you see our post about the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar?). Throughout Maryland—whether you’re headed to the eastern shore, passing through corn fields, or driving through one of the State’s many agricultural areas—fresh food is growing everywhere! And farm-to-table restaurants have menus that are just exploding with flavor and variety! Which, of course, you can re-create in your own kitchen.
In Season, but Not Necessarily Local:
We definitely recommend trying to eat exclusively local for a while, but don’t beat yourself up if you still want to expand your palate. You can feel good eating these not-necessarily-Maryland, but nevertheless in-season foods:
- Bitter melon
- Bok choy
- Cactus pads
- Collard greens
- Fava beans
- Green beans
- Mustard greens
- Peppers, chile
- Peppers, sweet
- Squash, summer
- Cactus pears
*Can be found at the market, but not within its natural growing season.
Where to Buy
I hope that by now you’ve been visiting a few local farmers markets. Have a look at the Maryland Farmers Markets webpage from the Maryland Department of Agriculture to find a market close to you. One of our favorite Baltimore markets is the year-round 32nd Street Farmers Market in Waverly!
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for grocery stores, particularly health food stores, to carry and label produce grown locally (typically, ‘local’ to a grocer includes a multi-state region—at least it does from our experience in Maryland). And remember, buying food while it’s in season can be a lot cheaper! You might also be surprised to find out that wholesale stores (e.g., BJ’s, Costco, or SAM’s Club, etc.) will shift their stock depending on the season! (Bulk kale? Kale yeah!)
For the Seasonal, Local, Cheap series, we’re also partnering with (vegan) farmer Emma Jagoz from Moon Valley Farm in Baltimore County. She’s providing some great information about local food. There are a number of share types (so you can select one to suit your needs) as well as various pick-up locations (so you can find one that’s conveniently located). Check out Moon Valley Farm online.
Eating seasonally can be quite rewarding, but once you allow yourself to perceive it as limiting you might find yourself hitting road blocks. You can complement seasonal foods with grains, pastas, breads, dried goods, canned goods, and jarred foods, or with frozen foods as well. We highly recommend saving money by purchasing these goods in bulk, or preserving and storing foods from earlier seasons yourself. Buying in bulk might be especially valuable this time of year, to avoid last minute trips to the grocer before impending snow storms. And of course season your food with dried spices and sauces you’ve either purchased or made throughout the year!
We’ve perused a collection of vegan websites and recipe sites to select a handful of recipes you might want to try. Most or all of the ingredients are typically in-season this time of year, with the occasional out-of-season addition. We encourage you to play around with the recipes yourself, and if you think you can make it 100% local and 100% in-season, we would love to see what you cook up! Here are some ideas:
- Watermelon, Cucumber, Avocado Ceviche | V-Spot
- Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pinwheels | The Minimalist Baker
- Layered Eggplant & Zucchini Casserole | Oh She Glows
- Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic & Lemon | Everyday Vegan Cooking
- Summer Cherry Pie | Healthy. Happy. Life.
- Seasonal Foods Guide
- Cookie + Kate January Produce Guide
- CUESA Seasonality Chart
- CUESA Seasonality Chart for Fruit
- Shari’s Berries Fruit Seasons Chart
- Calendar of Maryland Harvests
- Pick Your Own | Maryland Harvest Calendar
- Maryland Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables
- Maryland Fruit and Vegetable Seasonality Chart