At orchards, markets and farm stands all around Pennsylvania every August, produce is so abundant and flavorful that the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program has named this month “Pennsylvania Produce Month.”
Why does August bring such variety? This time of year, summer favorites continue to be ripe, while the first fall fruits and veggies are ready to harvest. And whenever there’s an abundance of local produce to be had, it’s an opportunity to try new recipes! Here are our favorites that use some of the many in-season, farm-fresh foods available at Weaver’s right now, in the orchard or in the market.
In the Orchard
PEACHES & NECTARINES
Freestone yellow and white peaches are at their peak right now, and the best picking will last through approximately August 19. If you fancy the fuzzless nectarine instead, those are available now, but prime picking will be August 14-19. Here are our favorite peach and nectarine recipes.
Traditional focaccia is Italian flatbread baked with herbs and olive oil, but at a cooking class in 2015, my sister, Rachel VanDuzer, demonstrated that you can use focaccia as the dough for deep-dish pizza. This peach, ricotta and balsamic vinegar focaccia is delightfully sweet and makes a good dessert or brunch dish.
Need an easy but unforgettable appetizer? Warm up some wedges of Brie and serve them with grilled peaches on a sliced baguette.
An easy recipe for lightly sweetened peach iced tea–a refreshing treat after coming to the orchard for pick-your-own peaches!
This recipe from Elizabeth Weaver is so good one of her sons begs her to make it! And since it’s baked in a casserole dish and easy to transport, baked oatmeal makes a nice dish to share with friends who have had big life changes, like having a baby or moving to a new home. (I moved recently, and a friend not only had us over for dinner the night we moved, but also sent me home with baked oatmeal for breakfast the next morning! What a way to make us feel at home in our new community!)
If you have been looking forward to apple season, the time has come! It is hard to believe several early season apples have already come and gone. Ginger Gold is the early season apple currently available for pick-your-own. It’s a sweet-tart, firm apple, very versatile, great for snacking, pies, salads, sauce and baking. That means you can use it in plenty of recipes!
This green salad is packed with nutrients and a hearty crunch. The sweet-tart flavor of the apples pairs nicely with the green vegetables. Pistachios and crumbled bacon add savory saltiness and extra protein. It’s delicious with Ginger Gold apples, as well as with later golden varieties like Golden Delicious and Crispin. To make it ahead of when you’ll serve it, just reserve the bacon, raisins, pistachios and vinaigrette and toss in when ready to serve.
Canning applesauce and apple pie filling is a great way to take advantage of early season apples and preserve the taste you know you will be craving later!
These high-protein waffles make a light and simple dinner—the perfect ending to a day of picking fruit in the orchard. Serve them with sautéd apples, sweetened with naturally sweet apple cider!
Blueberries are winding down, but a few more will be ready to pick August 11, so hurry to grab the last of the season and make these recipes!
Last summer, a Weaver’s employee recommended making smoothie bowls, and when I tried this filling recipe, I was grateful for her recommendation. Not only was it refreshing, it was so filling I wasn’t hungry for lunch!
An easy freezer jam with no canning required, from the kitchen of Phoebe Canakis of Phoebe’s Pure Foods. She uses chia seeds as a thickener since blueberries are not naturally high in pectin.
Eating handfuls of blueberries is sublime, but in my book, blueberry season isn’t complete unless I’ve made blueberry muffins. Here’s Elizabeth Weaver’s favorite recipe, from her Aunt Kathy. “These muffins are fabulous,” says Elizabeth, “and great to have on hand if you need something quick to eat before running out the door on a busy summer morning. They also make a delicious dessert!”
As I was writing this, Justin Weaver, the orchard production manager, JUST announced that blackberry picking has gone from “fair” to “good”! The best is yet to come, with peak blackberry picking coming our way around August 18, so get your recipes ready!
Make this blackberry juice, another tried-and-true recipe from cooking professional Phoebe Canakis, and either drink it right away, freeze it, or can it. You can also make it into a thick blackberry syrup, using another recipe of Phoebe’s included in this article.
Whether you make this with blackberries or any other kind of berry, follow pastry chef instructor Diana Penn’s instructions. She cautions that sometimes fruit crisps can turn out looking “like the Sahara desert,” and this article explains how to avoid that!
In the Market
After picking your favorite fruit, swing by the market for local produce. Our homegrown corn, tomatoes and melons come from local farms.
This week, corn is “cheaper by the dozen” to celebrate PA produce month, so enjoy a great deal on white and bicolor corn as you make these!
More of a custard than plain ice cream, this is another gourmet recipe from pastry chef instructor Diana Penn. It supplies a creative and delicious use for leftover corn!
Jennifer Hetrick, who writes for our blog, recently contributed this recipe to our friends at Wolff’s Apple House in Media, PA. I made it last night and definitely wished it was really was endless (it’s the use of a top crust, not a bottom crust, that prompts Jen to call this “bottomless”).
An abundance of local tomatoes in your farmers market, or even closer, in your garden, mean it’s time to can two things: sauce and salsa!
Kendra Musser, wife of our farm market manager, Dwayne, shares a recipe for an easy, classic salsa that achieves its full-bodied flavor through a combination of spices and fresh cilantro coupled with fresh vegetables.
Also in this article, you can find Kendra’ pizza sauce recipe!
Did you know bruschetta can be canned like tomato sauce? Add a little variety to your pantry as you “put up” tomatoes this summer, and try this bruschetta, which you can use like a chunky pasta sauce on pizza, in tomato soup, and in many other Italian recipes.
Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are some of the sweetest fruits of summer. And they are delicious not only sliced and served, or diced into fruit salads, but also in many savory recipes.
Brandon Hertzler, who has worn many hats at Weaver’s over the years–including heading up our new Orchard Explorer’s program– also occasionally wears a “chef” hat, and we’re delighted when he does. Here’s his recipe for a chilled soup that transforms the popular Italian Prosciutto e Melone appetizer into a sweet, refreshing summer soup option.
In this recipe, the saltiness of the sopresatta complements the refreshing fruit.
Watermelon goes so well with…black beans? In this recipe, it really does! Leave it to our deli manager Deb to find the most intriguing combinations.
What combinations will you find this August as you enjoy the best of summer produce along with the first fall bounty?