Not all of us live on a farm, but most of us can access at least a few garden fresh ingredients, particularly during the summer. Signing up for a CSA share or visiting your local farmers market can help you create tasty, healthy meals and support small farms. If you’re new to seasonal cooking, it can be a bit tricky. While you can purchase both spinach and bell peppers any day of the year at your local grocery store, odds are you won’t find them both on the same day locally. That’s because spinach is a cool season vegetable, while bell peppers love the heat of summer. Learning how to cook with what’s available can take a little practice. To help you get started we’ve rounded up a few places that you can find great seasonal recipes and tips.
This blog has recipes to help the experienced gardener or forager put up the harvest with articles on everything from canning spaghetti sauce to fermenting your own elderberry wine. For those who are less botanically inclined, you’ll find easy family-friendly recipes and ways to use up those odd veggies that sometimes show up in a CSA box like celeriac and turnip greens.
If you’re not familiar with it, the BBC Good Food blog is an excellent place to find great recipes. Thankfully for those looking to incorporate more local produce into their diet, they also have a wonderful seasonal recipes section. They cover drinks, salads, roasts, and even seasonally-inspired cakes!
If shopping at the farmers market doesn’t inspire you to cook, this blog will. Eva Kosmas Flores is a homesteader, photographer, and cookbook author who shares her passion with easy-to-follow recipes and stunning photos. Visit the blog this spring to find inspiring ways to use rhubarb, asparagus, greens, and peas, as they become available.
The Small Footprint Family believes that “sustainability starts at home” and we couldn’t agree more. They share recipes like Lemony Snap Peas with Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Pickles that follow the “harvest cycles of the garden.” Their recipes are also gluten and dairy free, making them perfect for those with dietary restrictions or anyone looking to expand their cooking skills.
Colleen Codekas shares traditional, from-scratch recipes on her blog Grow, Forage, Cook, Ferment that focus on homegrown, foraged, or fermented ingredients. Check out fun recipes like Chickweed Pesto or Herbal Popsicles with Lavender and Lemon Balm to really mix things up.
You don’t need to have a lot of free time or be an expert chef to cook great food. This spring grab some local produce and check out these 5 sites to create wholesome, delicious meals that will make you feel like you’re living on a farm.
Jordan Charbonneau is an organic farmer and writer from West Virginia. She holds degrees in ecology and environmental humanities from Sterling College in Vermont.