It’s U-pick and farmers market season again! I’m sure you look forward to this season as much as I do. There is no finer eating than farm-to-table fresh produce. Buying in-season favorites such as peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, okra and squash not only guarantees the most flavorful dishes but also offers the best prices.
I heard from Stephen Talley, who is a farmer in DeKalb County, and he told me he has three main “seasons” on his farm — strawberry season in the spring; peaches and every vegetable imaginable in the summer; and pumpkin season in the fall.
Stephen said, “My favorite thing about farming is seeing people take a bite out of a peach and realizing it tastes better than anything they’ve ever had in their life.”
I couldn’t agree more.
If you’d like to help support great farmers like the Talley family, one of my favorite tips this time of year is to check out SweetGrownAlabama.org when I make out my menu for the month. They have a searchable database that helps me find local sources for everything from fruits and vegetables to local-raised beef and chicken, too. Not only are we helping the local economy, but we’re also supporting our beloved farmers. When our farmers thrive, we all benefit.
This month, I’m sharing must-have seasonal classics. My Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad (often referred to as TOC for short) is the perfect side to any meal at home or at a potluck. It keeps well for several days in the fridge, so I often double the recipe to have extra for healthy snacking.
Southern Fried Cabbage is a savory, smoky side dish that pairs well with just about any menu. I’ve been enjoying this recipe since I was just a boy, and I’m proud to say my own son carries on the tradition.
Last up is an old-fashioned fluffy skillet cake that looks an awful lot like cornbread but makes the perfect base to delicious berries from farms like Talley’s.
I hope you’re looking forward to the delicious season before us. Rustle up your family, pay a visit to your local farmers market or U-pick farm, and gather around the table to savor the flavors of the day!