The third week of July continues to showcase more varieties of berries, cauliflower and cabbage become more prevalent, onion bulbs get larger, and zucchini flowers are in full bloom. Listed below are some of the highlights for locally grown crops at Seattle farmers markets:
- Tayberries, wild black cap raspberries, blackberries, and their related cousins (including boysenberries, loganberries, marionberries, and others) are coming on strong. Use them in yogurt smoothies, on shortcake, and to make jam. Be sure to “put some by”; can, freeze, or dry several flats of your favorite berries for use through winter.
- Cabbage heads get larger. In addition to green cabbage, we’ll start seeing red and Savoy varieties. Not just for Cole slaw, cabbage is a delicious ingredient in braised cabbage with bacon, as well as wilted cabbage salad with goat cheese and sweet and sour cabbage relish. Shredded cabbage is also a delicious burger or taco condiment instead of lettuce.
- Cauliflower, like cabbage, is delicious hot or cold. Try cauliflower à la polonaise with buttered crumbs, sizzling parsley with cauliflower and hazelnuts, warm salad with bacon and sun-dried tomato dressing, cauliflower salad, a quick refrigerator pickle, or these beautiful and fabulous Indian style hot pickles.
- Sweet onions are one of those special crops available fresh only at farmers markets. When dried, sweet onions seem more like regular dry yellow onions—though less sharp and with a shorter storage life. But when they’re fresh (with or without their green tops), they’re sweet and wonderful served raw in salads. Also be sure to try roasted baby artichokes with onions and cheeseburgers with cider-glazed onions. I like to dry the green tops to toss into omelets, salsa, or stir-frys.
- Zucchini flowers have a fairly short season. Stuffed zucchini flowers with goat cheese make a great appetizer, salad, or side dish for a special menu that makes a summertime statement.
In July, the following crops are also in season:
- Fruits: fresh berries of all kinds, such as blackberries, black cap (wild raspberries), blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, currants, gooseberries, huckleberries, loganberries, marionberries, raspberries, everbearing strawberries, and tayberries. We’ll see the first stone fruits, including apricots, peaches, and nectarines. We may also see the first figs of the season.
- Herbs: every type of herb is in season, including basil, chives, cilantro, dill, epazote, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.
- Veggies: most vegetables are in their prime, except for those that favor the hottest weather (peppers, corn, eggplant, and field grown tomatoes). Look for artichokes, baby bok choy, beets, broccoli, small cabbage heads, carrots, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese spinach (red amaranth), cucumbers (both pickling and slicing or salad varieties), daikon, fava beans, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), kohlrabi, mustard greens, salad greens and lettuce, peanuts, peas (shell, snow, and sugar snap), new potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash blossoms, tatsoi, hothouse tomatoes, turnips, and zucchini.
Of course many other foods are available year-round, including meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, wine and cider, honey, milk and yogurt, fresh pasta, hazelnuts, breads, and large colorful bouquets of cut flowers.