20 Vegetables in Season During PA Produce Month & Corresponding Recipes  

July 31, 2019

Legislation to help Pennsylvania agriculture has been a hot topic this year. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed eight related farm bills in early July of 2019, accompanied by state presidents of the Future Farmers of America and the 4-H. State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding called the initiatives “the most comprehensive investment in agriculture in a generation.”

While the support of our state’s government is critical to the success of Pennsylvania farmers, the investment that buyers make in their local producers will forever be a paramount element to a thriving agricultural industry. Some barriers exist between buyer and grower that are a bit complex but we’re on a mission to remove “I’m not sure what to do with that vegetable” from the list of barriers. We’ve been supporting PA Vegetable farmers since our establishment in 1988. Ongoing recipe, tip, and resource updates to paveggies.org is just another way to keep that support going. But none of it matters unless buyers find and consume local produce.

August is a wonderful month to jump start your dedication to and showcase your pride for PA veggies, or crank it up a level if you’re already involved. Here are 20 vegetables at peak ripeness in August, and naturally delicious and healthy recipes to go with them. Enjoy!

Beets (and their greens)

Look for beets with smooth skins and no shriveling. Trim tops but do not wash before storing in the fridge. Beet greens are great in salads when young. Can be cooked as a bitter green when more mature. Our recipe suggestion: Red Beet and Candied Walnut Salad.

Broccoli

Select heads that are firm and tight. Our recipe suggestion: Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower Gratin.

Cabbage

Choose cabbage heads with fresh, crispy leaves that do not contain little to no markings or browning. The head should only contain a few loose outer leaves. Our recipe suggestion: Tender Texas Cabbage Salad.

Cauliflower

The cauliflower head should feel heavy in your hand for its size. Give the leaves a good look. They should be fresh and vibrant, which is a sign that the cauliflower was recently harvested. Our recipe suggestion: Baked Cauliflower Salad and Rainbow Cauliflower Salad.

Carrots

Choose medium-sized ones that taper at the ends, especially if you plan to enjoy them raw. Thicker, larger carrot will be on the tough side. Our recipe suggestion: Carrot Hummus.

Cucumbers

For more flavor keep the skin on. If the skin is too tough score with a fork. Our recipe suggestion: Stuffed Cucumber Slices.

Eggplant

Choose smaller eggplants as they tend to be sweeter, less bitter, have thinner skin and less seeds. Our recipe suggestion: Falafel Shack’s Baba Ganoush.

Garlic

Well cured garlic can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place and last up to a year. Our recipe suggestion: Snap Beans with Pancetta and Roasted Garlic.

Kale

Young kale can be eaten fresh in a salad. Mature kale can be cooked and added to just about everything! Our recipe suggestions: Kale Stems Pesto.

Lettuce

Lettuce is sweetest in the spring and fall. Our recipe suggestion: Melon and Strawberry Salad or your House Salad with a Chopped Salad Dressing.

Lima Beans

Excellent in salads, the lima beans’ seeds are generally cream or green in color, although certain varieties feature colors such as white, red, purple, brown or black. Our recipe suggestion: Lime Bean Salad with Prosciutto and Arugula.

Onions

Store in a cool, dark place. Onions can keep for months when stored properly. Older onions have a more pungent taste. Our recipe suggestion: Stuffed Sweet Onions.

Peppers

The hotter and dryer the season the hotter a pepper will be. Our recipe suggestion: Pepper Dip.

Sweet Potatoes

Select sweet potatoes that are firm, free from decay and have a deep color. Smaller ones tend to be sweeter. Our recipe suggestion: Grilled Sweet Potato with Jalapeno Honey.

Snap/String Beans

Smaller evenly plump pods are the best. The bigger the bean pod the tougher it will be. Our recipe suggestion: Snap Bean Picnic Salad.

Squash

Look for squash that are small – just 6- to 8-inches in length and still relatively thin – for salads and stir-fry. Larger squash can be shredded for breads and other recipes. The zucchini should feel heavy for its size. The skin should be dark green and smooth and free of blemishes. Our recipe suggestions: Chocolate Muffins, Zucchini Noodles, and Pan Fried Fritters.

Sweet Corn

Look for tassels that are brown and sticky to the touch. If they’re dry or black, then it’s an old ear of corn. Our recipe suggestion: Grilled Sweet Corn Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette.

Swiss Chard

The entire plant is edible but the stem is tougher than the leaves and, if cooking, will require about an additional 5 minutes of cooking time. Our recipe suggestion: Pasta Verde with Swiss Chard, Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts.

Tomatoes

Some growers are switching to high tunnel systems enabling them to bring the first tomatoes to market as early as May. Our recipe suggestion: Smoked Heirloom Gazpacho and Tina Forry’s Five Minute Salsa.

Tomatillo

Keep the paper husk of the tomatillo on until you are ready to use. Our recipe suggestion: Smoky Salsa Verde.

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  • Good Evening from @oaknutfarm ! Thanks for following along today and joining us in celebrating #paproducemonth . We really enjoyed sharing a bit about our farm and are truly honored to be a part of the amazing PA food shed and it’s community of dedicated produce growers. 
#paveggies #paveggiesguestig
  • This is Sean and my 5th growing season as @oaknutfarm though we have been doing the organic vegetable farming shindig together since 2006. We met and worked at/managed three other produce farms in PA, NJ, and VA prior to moving back to PA to be closer to family. (Side bar: For anyone considering this line of livelihood—because it’s not just work—we highly suggest being an intern or apprentice first). Our previous experience has guided a lot of our decision making process on what to grow and how to grow it—but our main goal is that it tastes good! We pride ourselves on nourishing our local community with the highest quality produce. Sean and I really enjoy adding a few new crops (and dumping some) each season to our repertoire of 40 different vegetables, fruits, herbs, and specialty items—like log-grown shiitake and oyster mushrooms, fresh ginger and turmeric, and cut flowers.
#paproducemonth #paveggies #paveggiesguestig
  • After lunch is always doggie walking time with our sweet rescue “sholly” (Shepherd/Border Collie Mix), Sienna. We usually head out to the farm and on her favorite days she gets to chase down a groundhog. 
Our farm land was originally my parent’s and where we had a family garden growing up. The property is about 18 acres (12 tillable) and located close to the Blue Mountains and Appalachian Trail. We grow on less than three acres and have two passive solar high tunnels.

Our home property is located two doors down from my parent’s home and diagonal from the farm land. Our house was actually my childhood best friend’s house—so I spent just as much time in the house as my own as a kid. 
Our home property is also where we have our On-Farm Farm Stand and where we do our produce washing and packing. This afternoon we were busy doing our final harvesting and prep for our farm stand which is open today from 3-6pm. A big highlight for today was the first official TWO half pints of red raspberries for sale that my husband Sean picked from the raspberry canes he and Ginger gifted me for Mother’s Day last year. We since have added two more beds from that original nurse row for a total of 600 feet of raspberry canes! Next year will certainly be amazing!!! #paveggies #paveggiesguestig #paproducemonth
  • The month of August, for most produce farmers I think, feels like a non-stop marathon. But, instead of running, you’re sprinting the entire way and never quite catching up. This morning was a perfect example—beginning with a computer that refused to turn on so I could send out our weekly farm newsletter—that of course was supposed to be sent out last evening. Once the sun came up and the computer remained asleep—I decided to delay the newsletter (again) and continue to the flower harvesting for today’s on-farm farm stand and for one of our restaurant wholesale orders. After the flowers, it was time to tend to the laying ducks and chickens with our 7-year-old daughter, Ginger. She completes this task often still wearing her pjs—and I don’t mind one bit—as I appreciate the help and the extra snuggles she give the ladies while I’m buzzing around. Then it’s off to town to make our restaurant delivery and pick up some groceries and poultry feed before heading back home for lunch.

#paproducemonth #paveggies #paveggiesguestig
  • Good Morning from @oaknutfarm ! My name is Jennifer and today I’ll be sharing about our small family farm located in northwestern Berks County in our Instagram takeover of #paveggies in honor of #paproducemonth . But first I need to finish harvesting flowers and have some coffee. Thanks for following along!

#paveggiesguestig
  • Today we’re heading to Bethel PA to let @oaknutfarm tell their #paveggies story. Their roots run deep in the good food and farming world so you’ll want to tune in for this special takeover in honor of #paproducemonth #pennsylvania #vegetables #bethel #berkscounty #farmlife #goodfood #localfood #agriculture
  • Thank y’all so much for following along today! There’s so much more to share, so follow along at @kneehighfarm to see how our season grows. Many thanks to @paveggies for hosting these farmer takeovers, and bringing awareness to #paproducemonth ! Take care y’all, and enjoy the late summer bounty! #paveggies #paveggiesguestig #kneehighfarm #igtakeover #localfarms #buyfreshbuylocalpa
  • As of last year, a new addition to the farm was cut flowers. These have proven to be incredible attractants for beneficial pollinators. They are also a profitable option for areas of the farm where growing veggies isn’t ideal due to soil quality. •
•
If you drive by the farm, the flowers are the first area you see near our farm stand. We like to think of them attracting and welcoming folks to the farm (just like the bees!) Our farm stand is open to the public, Tuesdays from 3 - 6, and Wednesday - Saturday most of the day (honor system). We’d love to have you stop by and take a peak at what we got growing. #paveggies #paproducemonth #paveggiesguestig #kneehighfarm #farmstand #cutflowers #polinators
  • Growing delicious veggies all starts with the soil. We’ve been experimenting with low-till techniques to reduce compaction and increase soil biology and structure. We farm in a very wet area, with heavy clay as the predominant soil type. It is our top priority to feed and heal the soil, so we can grow the most nutritious and healthiest vegetables. 
#paveggies #paveggiesguestig #kneehighfarm #healthysoil #healthesoil #certifiednaturallygrown #paproducemonth #beyondorganic

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