By Allegra Pearl
This week we highlight all the delicious fruits and veggies in season this summer in Ontario!
With the great weather and sunshine finally arriving, it’s time to start dreaming about all the fresh produce that will soon come with it. Shopping for seasonal produce is a great way to support your local farmers, while getting your favourite fresh fruits and veggies at a great affordable price.
As early summer begins to kick off through June, we move into berry season! Strawberries and cherries are harvested locally and are readily found at your nearby grocery store or farmers market. All of these nutritious and delicious fruits not only make great snacks, but excellent ingredients in a variety of fun and scrumptious plant-based summer recipes. If you're looking for a fun activity, places like Shouldice Berry Farms in Ottawa will send you into the fields to go pick your own fruit. Looking for some fun vegan recipes? Try making a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing- see recipe below!
Fruit isn’t the only fresh produce available during June in Ontario. Veggies like asparagus, beans, cucumber, kale, lettuce and mushrooms are just a few fresh veggies sprouting this time of year. Believe me when I say that there is nothing quite like a mushroom steak grilled to perfection, paired with fresh asparagus and a delicious green salad on a hot summer night.
July and August
Now if you thought early fresh summer produce was spectacular, just wait until July and August come around. From blueberries, raspberries, currants, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and watermelon, the list of in season mouth watering fruits goes on and on. Make sure to add visiting the Lansdowne, Westboro, Kanata, Parkdale or Byward Farmers market in Ottawa to your summer bucket to score the freshest produce from your neighbourhood vendors.
Whether you're making a delicious stir fry with bok choy, broccoli, carrots and snow peas, or just barbequing some corn, Ontario farmers have your fresh vegetables covered through late summer. My favourite seasonal veggie to incorporate into summer dishes are sweet potatoes. Whether they are baked, mashed or grilled, they make for an amazing main or side dish to a variety of delicious vegan meals.
So what are you waiting for? Book that trip to the farmers market this weekend and start filling your fridge and counter space with fresh, affordable ingredients straight from your local vendors. Check out the PlantEd Project recipe book for breakfast and snack recipes you could integrate these seasonal fruits into.
Recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp agave or maple syrup
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups of densely packed baby spinach
2 cups of fresh sliced strawberries or blueberries
½ cup vegan feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 small red onion, sliced
½ walnuts, chopped
In a small bowl, make your dressing. Combine balsamic dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Adjust flavours according to preference.
In a large bowl, toss all your salad ingredients. Feel free to swap out any of the ingredients with other seasonal produce.
Once you’re ready to serve, pour in the dressing and toss the salad.