Fresh tastes of summer

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love the UP.

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think I could ever live for an extended period of time in a place that doesn’t have four seasons. I also really love the fruit and wildlife of the temperate areas, where several weeks out of the year include foraging for fresh berries and eating more than you throw in your bucket for later.

I am blessed to have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from a local farmer. He has somehow acquired the green thumbs that I obviously do not have. Along with his CSA partners (like me!), he sells his pickins’ to local markets. Marg even had some of his spinach and mixed greens for her wedding dinner. Every week, I get a bag or three of vegetables in my cooler, ready to eat (after I rinse them off in my greens spinner, of course). Last year, the weather was poor for growing and I ate my lifetime supply of spinach (or so I thought at the time). This year, the sun and rain ratio must be superb, because I’ve been eating beans and peas and courgettes to my big heart’s content.

The best thing about eating fresh in a UP fashion is the availability of these great foods. Sure, they are seasonal. Don’t expect to find good quality strawberries at the market in March (because they have to travel how far?!). But during the summer months, you can either pay $5 for a pint of fresh raspberries (handpicked, of course, at the roadside stand), or you can go exploring in the woods and find your own. The blueberry bushes are everywhere, and the thimbleberries are beginning to turn as red as rubies. Buy a jar of thimbleberry jam from a jam pot up here, and you’d second guess their value as jewels themselves.

So when the growing season is here, I dive right in. Sure, I still spend head to the grocery store, but bypass the produce aisles and shoot straight for the frozen meats and gluten free grains. I even get  eggs from a local farm for a few bucks a dozen.

Here’s a little taste (from a visual perspective) of the scrumptious UP:

wild blueberries

fresh picked raspberries from my CSA

Here’s one of the easiests recipes that I used, inspired by Marg’s bridal gathering at The Tea Room in Houghton:

Veggie Salad

5 courgettes (small ones)
4 carrots
1 pickling cuke
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian dressing (I use Kraft’s Tuscan Italian)

Chop/slice vegetables into 1/4in thick slices. Place into bowl. Toss with dressing. Add 1 can of garbonzo beans if you want! (I hate chick peas, but I strangely love them in this salad!)

veggie salad

Wisconsin-raised buffalo gluten free spaghetti (extra sauce!) with Reggiano

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4 thoughts on “Fresh tastes of summer

  1. I’m jealous of those fresh raspberries in your CSA. I like the looks of your salad and think it’d be even better if you spin some balsamic and olive oil in the blender with a few herbs. I’ve become a bit of a dressing snob but find that it really enhances flavor.

    • I totally agree about the make-your-own-dressing thing, and I usually do. But, my boyfriend used up all the fresh herbs on our risotto yesterday (and our own fresh herbs have died because I have anti-green thumbs). The Tuscan Italian dressing is the best Kraft one I can find (and its cheap).

  2. I love having four seasons too, but the black hole of fresh fruit in the winter is definitely my least favorite part of it. Gotta enjoy it while it is here!

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