Simply put, food just tastes better when you know where it’s coming from. Whether you’re browsing seasonal vegetables at the local farmers market, or enjoying a meal out at a restaurant that locally sources its ingredients, seasonal food is at its best when it’s part of a story.
During the summer months, additional daylight means more hours outdoors, so our bodies require additional energy. That’s why the seasonal foods during this time like corn, strawberries, peas, peaches, and melon offer high levels of fruit-based carbohydrates and natural sugars to keep our energy levels sustained throughout the day. And many of the seasonal foods are also packed with water to keep our bodies hydrated, like cucumber, watermelon, and tomato. From their harvest in an upstate farm to their appearance on your plate, this is the journey of your summer favorites.
Cucumbers are a seasonal favorite because of their hydrating and energizing qualities. One of the leading growers of cucumber is H&H Happy Urban Farm, located in Schenectady, NY. Vicki Loika started farming when her youngest child was diagnosed with autism, but her organic methods were in high demand and soon she was farming on a larger scale. Her cucumbers make their debut alongside burnt garlic in one of the most popular appetizers at The Fat Radish. Also look for fresh cucumber on Blue Hill‘s menu. Paired with bread yogurt, sour cherries, and caviar, this is a dish you’ll think about long after you’ve paid the bill.
Tomatoes make the summer short list. Upstate Farms, started by Mike Kokas and Jan Greer, have grown heirloom tomatoes every summer since opening. From their 30 acres in Tivoli, right on the Hudson, they have distributed to restaurants for decades. Lucky for us, these tomatoes make their way to our plates. Some make it to Employees Only, a prohibition-style bar and restaurant in the West Village, steps from 261 Hudson. Their menu features many farm-fresh goods from Upstate. You can’t leave without ordering their ricotta gnocchi with heirloom tomato, lemon, summer herbs, and Moliterno al Tartufo cheese, which make tomatoes the star of the dish.
Eggplant is one of the most versatile summer vegetables. Its meaty texture gives light summer dishes a hearty lift. This purple beauty is being grown out in Witchwood Farms, where farmer Bob Hill realized his own green thumb after he grew a “decent” pumpkin in a Kindergarten contest. At Rossopomodoro, a Neapolitan favorite in the West Village, eggplant is the star of Polpetta di Melanzane. These eggplant (meatless) meatballs are so good you won’t even notice they’re vegetarian.
No doubt about it, corn plays a central role in summer meals. Whether you’re grilling or roasting it, this buttery, crunchy vegetable is one of the top reasons we look forward to this season. Up in East Fishkill, NY, Fishkill Farms is growing these stalks in spades. Print Restaurant, one of the most highly-praised seasonal restaurants in Manhattan, is dishing up corn in unique and delicious ways. Print’s homemade ravioli stuffed with mushroom and corn swims in a sea of lemon and parmesan. This isn’t the corn we know from family BBQs, this is corn as you’ve never had it before.
Whether you dine in or go out, show us your seasonal favorites! Tag us for a chance to appear on our platforms and enjoy the best of what this season has to offer.