Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's In Season Now - July (Everything!)

The Only Guide to Seasonality That Matterstm

It's Good to Be a Locavore!

I told you at the start of July that it was not time for an update seasonality guide (June guide here). It's time. What's in season now at Chicago area farmer's markets, local superstore's like Cassie's Green Grocer, Johnny welcome to the party, come latelies, like Fox & Obel; Irv and Shelly's Freshpicks. Everything. The burden of local now is to eat everything one acquires. At this time, there's a lot in season. Unless your guide's talking grapes, it has a chance as being as accurate as the one below.

Ending Soon
If you want to eat these, eat them soon, they won't be around much longer: cherries sweet and tart; some lettuces, snow peas.

Limited Window
Get these now: apricots have been around for a few weeks; they won't be around much longer. Certain types of plums, like the metheny may already be gone by the time you read this. Things like carrots and zukes and potatoes will be here for a long while, but them in tiny versions, well them's the time to get them. Now. Related, now you may also find squash blossoms.

Other things early
Garlic's pretty ossified now but onions are still in their soft stages. Look for Vidalia-ish (store in the fridge) onions as well as immature versions of other onions. Green garlic may be gone, but garlic scapes are around.

Stoned on Fruit
In the Chicago area, we are lucky enough to be near the SW shores of Michigan, some of the primest territory for growing stone fruits. The breezes over the lake keep things just warm enough, while the existence of cold brings extra sweetness to the fruits. Look for early versions of peaches and nectarines--I have not seen white versions of either yet. Mentioned above, apricots, cherries, plums. With plums, various varieties will be around for ages, with the Stanley and the like not get going until the fall.

Uncommon Fruits
The benefits to shopping local is access to items that will not find their way into grocery stores. In our fruit aisles you'll find currents and gooseberries and tayberries. Try, try, try. See here and here for a gooseberry ideas.

Common Fruit
Hard to imagine with all of the summer fruits in season that now is also the season of the apple. Several varieties of apples come to fruit now; now, when you think you should just be munching a peach. Summer apple varieties tend to have a few things in common. Most, if not all, are quite puckery in the mouth. They tend to be soft and are often (typically) used for sauce. Most importantly, they are not apples to keep. In selling me a few apples today (for a daughter who somewhat unexpectedly* had a taste for apples) Lloyd Nichols warned me that they would only last a few days.

All the Rest of the Fruits of the Season
OK, don't forget the raspberries (black, red and golden), blueberries, and blackberries around now. Theses berries will peter out for a bit then will reappear into the fall.

All the Rest of the Vegetables
Can I name everything in the market these days. Maybe. Maybe because this is the time of year it's all here. All you think of as summer produce at least: tomatoes (the ones now are mostly grown in hoop houses or early varieties of cherries); eggplants, cucumbers, hot and sweet peppers, summer squashes, sweet corn, cabbages, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, collard greens, fennel, celery, beets, and the dreaded k word, kohlrabi (which we took to calling jicama in our house, especially after we realized we really liked it!).

As always, there's River Valley with their organically cultivated mushrooms. I have not seen any wild mushrooms of late, although someone, somewhere must have some chantrelles. You should find plenty of fresh herbs in your market.

Speciality Vegetables
Oh, there's more baby. Kinnikinnick Farm at Evanston and Green City; Green Acres at the Tuesday Federal Plaza market as well as Green City and Evanston; Farmer Vicki's Genesis Growers at Oak Park and Green City; Sandhill Organics at Oak Park; Henry and his farmstand at Evantson; Nichol's Farm all over the place; these guys will have plenty more things than I thought of tonight. It's good to be a locavore.

Coming soon: the melons, heirloom tomatoes, more types of potatoes, more types of peppers, okra, fresh (shelling) beans. It's good to be a locavore.

*One of the things that warms my local heart is the ability of my kidz to never tire of apples.

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