The Best Superfoods Are the Ones Growing in Your Garden

ColumnReaders tell us what they’re growing in their summer gardens.

As a fun way to look at what’s in season across the country and in other parts of the world, we took this month’s Seasonal Superfoods on the road. We asked our readers via Facebook and Twitter what they’re growing, where they’re located and how they prepare the goodness from their gardens and compiled the results below.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate, leave a comment below and let us know what you’re doing with your garden’s bounty!

Lisa: Toronto, Canada—Lisa says she’ll be eating her Heirloom tomatoes sliced or like an apple.

Teresa: Boise, Id—Heirloom tomatoes in tarts and sauces will be all the rage in Teresa’s kitchen.

Katy: Rhode Island—Tired of kale chips? You aren’t the only one. “We are sick to death of kale chips,” says Katy. She suggests trying something different and putting Kale in green smoothies.

Leslie: Oakland, CA—If in Oakland, Black Mission Figs eaten off the tree or preserved are par for the course.

Susan: Merced, CA—For those lucky enough to have sage grow year round like at Susan’s place in Merced, the opportunity for it to be folded into Thanksgiving stuffing with lemons from her very own tree is the plan. She also likes to add her extra to turkey, chickens, pork chops, tomato sauces, vegetable curries, frittatas and chicken soup. “Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and great eaten in salads or right off the vine.”

Wade: Lebanon, OR—Blueberries, lots of blueberries! Wade likes to eat them “hot or cold in breakfast cereals or frozen in a bowl with milk poured over them. And of course nothing is better than picking and eating the big plump ones in the garden.”

Haven Bourque: Oakland, CA—”I wrap fresh-caught sardines stuffed with garlic and herbs in the fresh-picked, blanched grape leaves from my native California grape vine and grill or roast, and serve topped with garlic yogurt sauce. You eat the whole thing- leaf, sardine and all. Accompany with roasted tiny okra, over rice.” Purloined from Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Cooking.

Oliver: Oakland, CA—”Herbs, lots of fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, dill, marjoram, spearmint, oregano, and basil. They’re great in nearly anything we make. One of our favorite easy dinners is a cheese and herb omelet, but also stews, soups, pastas, and bruschetta with fresh heirloom tomatoes and grated parmesan and pecorino. Spearmint in mojitos and in frozen pops with fresh fruit.”

Laiko: San Francisco, CA—Laiko’s Early Girl tomatoes, sage, two different kinds of oregano, rosemary, lavender and Meyer lemons all grow to full-on fruition on her back deck in San Francisco. We think she’ll be starting her own tomato sauce business soon enough.

Susie: Berkeley, CA—”Tomatoes but they have this problem on the base from lack of calcium,” she says, and because of that, she’s become an eating machine gobbling them straight off the vine.

Sarah Bird Lewis-Hammond: Brighton, UK—Sarah’s Purple Runner Beans and Lemon Crystal Cucumbers are more than adequately growing this summer. How is she eating them? “Lemon and orange glazed salmon with bean and bulgher wheat salad. Cucumbers got eaten as they were. Delish.”

Marianne Swallie—Marianne is all about oven roasted tomatoes. “Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, whatever herbs you have growing in the garden and bake slowly at 170 degrees. When they are withered and yummy, cool them off, then pop them into your mouth and enjoy! If you can force yourself to part with a few, they freeze very well and come out in December to add a little bit of summer to your winter-time pasta recipes.”

Abigail Wick: Berlin, Germany—Cherry tomatoes and potted basil are growing crazy on her terrace. “We make vegan thin-crust pizzas with them, plus arugula, toasted pine nuts, and browned garlic. In short…bliss.”

Amy Stevenson Hall: Auburn, AL—In Alabama? “Peas, eating fresh and freezing, putting up cucumber pickles and banana pepper pickles (and just eating raw). Sadly, the tomatoes, okra, and squash have run their course. Sweet potatoes weren’t very sweet this year.”

Blissoma Natural Body Care and Candles: St. Lewis, MO—There’s no shortage of okra, cucumbers, green beans, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon in St. Lewis. “Our pumpkins are still just babies right now and our tomatoes went in late. We’ve made several gallons of refrigerator pickles, and we eat a giant melon-based fruit salad every morning. We’re going to make a giant batch of oven baked/breaded squash fries as well. Yum!!!”

This is the latest installment in Vanessa Barrington’s weekly column, The Green Plate,  on the environmental, social, and political issues related to what and how we eat.

Images: Manjithkaini, Joe Quick, Richard BH

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.