August at the Farmers Market: What’s in Season?
These pandemic days are the slowest fast-moving days–or maybe the fastest slow-moving weeks–I have ever experienced. Do you feel the same? There is time to savor moments and flavors and even the long-forgotten sensation of boredom. But it’s already August? What???
Growing conditions have been ideal for warm-season crops this year. Air temperatures have been above average, both in the daytime and nighttime. As a result we’re moving into high season for market produce even earlier than usual.
The key to a continual succession of vegetables is timed plantings of the same crop at intervals throughout the spring and summer. For example, the earliest, fastest-maturing corn varieties have already been harvested. Our growers are now harvesting a second planting of sweet corn for your table. They are experts–we all benefit from their hard work.
August is a great time to preserve the harvest, whether on a small scale (perhaps a few jars of blueberry jam) or to fill a winter pantry (tomatoes, cucumbers, and more are available in bulk quantities. Market vendors are happy to reserve large orders for you to pick up on market day.) It’s a great idea to assemble your supplies BEFORE you purchase the produce you intend to freeze, can, dehydrate or jam. Food preservation supplies like freezer bags, jar lids, and pectin can be a little hard to find.
Want to preserve the good feeling of the market along with the good flavors? After the canning or freezing is done, when you’re writing on your jar lid or label, include the vendor’s name. For example: “Cherry tomato sauce, Yang family, 8-1-2020.” Doing so helps me pause to mentally thank the folks who grew and harvested my food, even in the cold of January. Everything tastes better when seasoned with gratitude.
Here is a list of the produce you can expect to find in the market as the month progresses. We can’t possibly list everything. New varieties will appear every single week in August, so be sure to keep an eye out for that hotter pepper or new variety of muskmelon. Savor. Enjoy.
- apples arrive mid- to late August. Early varieties include State Fair, Beacon, First Kiss, SweeTango, and crabapples.
- beans (green, yellow, purple,speckled, more!)
- beets (golden and red)
- bitter melon
- cabbage (regular, napa)
- cantaloupe and muskmelons
- carrots (orange, red, white, purple)
- cauliflower (white, purple, yellow)
- cherry tomatoes–many varieties
- cucumbers (pickling slicing, and specialty)
- eggplant (MANY varieties)
- ground cherries
- Potatoes–red, yellow, white, purple; fingerling; russet potatoes by late August
- onions (green onions, as well as yellow, white and red)
- pattypan and other summer squash varieties
- peppers (new varieties added every week in August)
- sweet corn
- tomatoes (slicing, sauce, heirloom varieties)
- watermelon (yellow, red, orange, many sizes–seeded and seedless)