Summer foods and creative recipes

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 6, 2016

There are certain fruits and vegetables we will begin to see in June and further into the summer months.

We’ve have already seen beets, carrots and green onions which will continue, and some Asian cabbages like pac choi and the even more tender spring Asian greens. But the more traditional cabbages like the Dutch flat head and Napa cabbage start to make their mark this month, as well as fruits like blackberries and blueberries. Peaches and plums are a strong June crop in North Carolina as well.

What’s especially right around the corner are cucumbers! Boy, how I love snacking on those! Eggplant will be knocking on our door soon, too.

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June can even bring tomatoes and with that comes in the basil. I recently learned something from our new chef at the Community’s Kitchen. He used radish leaves and carrot fronds to make a pesto that we spread over the base of our vegetarian pizzas last weekend in Roger’s Park and the Summer Tracks Concert Series.

I have loved radish greens in the morning with my scrambled eggs, but never once have I known how to prepare fresh, organic, local carrot tops or fronds. If you have a chance to taste a fresh locally grown carrot top, it really does taste just like the carrot! They are packed with nutrition and sweet, not bitter. It helps to blanch the radish leaves and carrot fronds prior to pulsing in with the parsley, basil, nuts, garlic, olive oil and cheese that are the traditional ingredients in a pesto. You’ll be in for a sweet, tangy pesto surprise!

People know us around here: we don’t like to waste anything in the way of food. And you can hardly bring yourself to not use all parts of a lovingly and painstakingly grown small farm or garden because that is a dedicated, selfless, and hard-working gig.

One reason we love our shared use community incubator kitchen is the capacity it has brought our work in local food systems building to do just that: Stay in a creative relationship with our daily food and reduce, reduce, reduce waste!