I’m all about cool weather and the upcoming fall season, but if there is one thing I will sorely miss about these hot summer days, it’s the fresh produce. I am amazed at how eating with the seasons perfectly complements our bodies’ specific needs for each part of the year. We truly were made to live in harmony with Creation. In the summer, watermelon and cucumber cool us, while the pumpkins and squash of fall serve to warm us and prepare us for winter. Eating with the seasons usually means supporting local farms, which benefits the environment and the crucial bee population. And growing your own allows you to connect with the Earth in a more intimate way (& there are actual health benefits of that, too. I’ll tell you more soon!)
So with the desire to further cultivate health through connecting with nature, this summer marked my first attempt at gardening. With the help of my husband who built my garden beds, and my sweet papa who filled them with seeds for pickling cucumbers, yellow squash, green peppers, corn, all types of tomatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, and oregano, I was all set to go. My job was easy: to water it and give it tender loving care.
You can blame either my amateur skills or the less than ideal weather patterns (I’d like to blame the weather…), but sadly my garden didn’t turn into the over-abundant jungle I had envisioned. After one yellow squash, my squash plants shriveled up and died. I never saw an ear of corn. And I didn’t get the mass amounts of tomatoes I was hoping to can for the winter.
BUT I am grateful for what was produced. The herbs have been a lovely, life giving addition to many meals. That single yellow squash was tender and delicious, and the handful of tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers allowed me to experiment and create yummy things.
Oh, and the best part: my dad “secretly” planted me some sunflowers that filled my home with fresh blooms all summer long.
One day last week, while waiting for my husband to get home from work, I opened my fridge and thought, “we have nothing to eat for dinner!” At first glance, it seemed we were in desperate need of a grocery store run. But when I stepped back and thought about it more, I realized I had more than enough to create something substantial. Two cucumbers laying on my counter, a jar of homemade mayo in the fridge, a bag of organic corn in my freezer, and my garden outside with some tomatoes and fresh herbs ended up combining into a beautiful and delicious summer salad:
Fresh Summer Garden Salad
- 5-6 small-medium sized tomatoes, chopped (preferably local & organic)
- 2 large cucumbers, chopped (preferably local & organic)
- 1 heaping cup of organic corn (I used frozen, since mine didn’t grow ;))
- Large handful of fresh chopped basil and parsley
- 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise (avoid the junk & click here for my recipe!)
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar
- Celtic sea salt, to taste (this is the kind I use)
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate, or grab a bowl and dig in. This *could* serve at least 4 people, but I ate half of it in one sitting :)
Enjoy this last little taste of summer!