What’s in season in June? I live in the Valley of the Sun, one of the hottest places on the earth in the summer. We are blessed with moderate climates and long growing seasons, yet, when the hottest months of July and August hit, nothing grows. If there are plants in the garden I make sure they are zoned for the hardiest conditions and that they are watered well.

In June there is the harvest from May. The earlier, cooler months bring us bounty in the forms of watermelons, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, peaches, onions, and the like. Berries burst forth from their containers. This is the last month of the farmer’s markets when we can get greens, peas and potatoes that haven’t been wilted and worn by the sun. This is the time to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.

Memories of Fig

Figs are in season, so it's time to grab a basketful and get creative. Caramelize them, roast them, or make jam.

I especially love figs and peaches. I remember when I was growing up and would go out to my grandparents’ farm for the fig harvest. My grandmother made sure I was present. A huge fig tree lived down the lane from the house. We would grab baskets and sheets and stroll to the grand tree, heavily laden with the ripe green fruits. We picked the sweetest, fattest figs. I would eat a few, saving the others for making fig jam and the popular cookie now known as the fig newton (we didn’t call it that, but my grandma knew how to make them). I reveled in the baking process of this whole grain treat, greedily gobbling up any spills from the baking and preserving process.

Working in professional kitchens, I had to show restraint when fresh figs were delivered. At one restaurant we made a preserved fig for a dish. We would take dried figs, slice them, marinade them in sherry vinegar and onion, and serve that on braised quail. It was a delicate contrast to the taste of the bird and the pistachio foam that went on the plate. We would get only so many figs and they had to be processed in the dehydrators before we could marinade them. My answer? Buy them myself and eat them. It’s another food that the Spouse isn’t terribly fond of, but she smiles when I’m shoving them in my mouth. I think I’ll make some fig jam this season. I haven’t made it since I was ten and it really isn’t that hard to make. As long as you have the figs.

Fresh and In Season

millions of peachesOther foods that are in season? Peaches. A friend of mine, the Spelt Goddess, who lives in Canada was aghast when she found out our peach season was so early. In colder climates the trees have to wait until the sap rises and that’s usually through June and July. August is National Peach Month, but for me, it’s right now!

Whichever of these fruits and vegetables are your favorite, make sure to get out to the markets and purchase what is in season for your area. Then savor the many different ways you can prepare them.

There are so many recipes to choose. Here are links to Watermelon Agua Fresca, Peach Compote, and Blueberry Jam recipes. There’s also many wonderful ways to cook zucchini and eggplant.

Have fun this month, and celebrate the Spring Harvest!