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May 2014 Country Kitchen

Along with sunny days and higher temperatures, the beginning of summer in the South brings some favorite fruits and vegetables — blueberries, peaches, cucumbers, peppers, and of course, summer squash. 

Vegetable farms and home gardens across the state are laden with yellow squash, ready to be served alongside grilled feasts on warm nights.

Dale County farmer Monica Carroll knows all about cooking squash and a host of other vegetables — for many years, Monica and her husband Chris raised vegetables on their farm. These days, they grow peanuts, corn and wheat in addition to broilers and cattle, but the family still has a large garden and buys produce from the farmers market. In the summertime, squash frequents the Carrolls’ plates.

The family has always eaten only what is available seasonally, and children Brittany and Blake have never been picky about vegetables. 

“One reason I don’t have picky children is because when they helped grow things, they wanted to try them,” Monica said. “When we would pick our vegetables, they would want to come in and eat it right then. They were proud of what they helped grow.”

In addition to raising two children, Monica drives a school bus in the mornings and afternoons and helps Chris on the farm. Somehow, she still finds time to cook a big breakfast and dinner almost every day. 

“Someone told me once, ‘To keep your family in line, you must sit at a table together at least once a day,’” she said. “The good Lord has blessed me to be able to help Chris on the farm and to have time around the house to cook.”