During the summer, everything is fresher, brighter and juicier, and this is your chance to soak up the amazing flavors and variety this season has to offer. It’s a win-win situation: you can help the environment by buying local and get more vitamins and nutrients without even trying.

Beaches and outdoor bars might be awesome, but fresh produce is actually the best thing about summer.



Photo by Marci Green

Fresh herbs are the best way to add flavor to salads, meats and vegetable dishes, and basil is most abundant during the summer. Basil goes well with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, corn, eggplant, cucumbers and green beans.

Try any of these recipes to get your basil fix.



Photo by Amanda Shulman

You can find tomatoes in the grocery store year round, but during the winter, they are pretty bland. In the summertime, however, you can find very flavorful heirloom tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors; plus, they add a ton of visual interest to your plate. Eat them sliced with avocado, your favorite cheese or simply with salt and pepper.



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Corn on the cob is the ultimate summer BBQ food. It can be cooked on the stove or in the oven, but it tastes the best when it is charred on the grill, because it adds a much needed smoky taste.

Once it is cooked, simply sprinkle it with salt and pepper. However, if you want to take it to the next level and maximize flavor, add paprika and queso fresco to your grilled corn.



Photo courtesy of popsugar.com

Like corn, eggplant is the tastier when cooked on the grill. Slice eggplant, brush with olive oil and grill slices to your liking. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. So simple, yet so, so good.



Photo by Hannah Lin

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are at their peak in the summer months, and they are sweet enough that you really don’t need to do much to them at all.

If you do feel like dressing up your berries a little, sprinkle them with powdered sugar or dip them in fresh whipped cream or chocolate.



Photo by Laura Palladino

Cherries are juiciest in the summertime and provide their own unique flavor, and like berries, cherries can be enjoyed solo. If you’re in the mood to get creative, combine fresh cherries and fresh berries to make an amazing pie.



Photo courtesy of wellnessmadenatural.com

Peaches scream summer, and since ripe peaches are pretty sturdy, they can be grilled to create a sweet and smokey contrast.

Not a fan of warm peaches? Add them to a simple salad of arugula, red onion and feta cheese for a sweet kick or even toss them into your guacamole for a hint of peachy sweetness.



Photo courtesy of harvesttotable.com

Everyone loves eating watermelon wedges during the summer, but the best way to eat watermelon is in a salad.

Cut the watermelon into cubes, drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, add chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The sweet watermelon and salty flavors create the perfect combination for a summer salad or side dish.



Photo by Paige Twombly

Cucumbers may seem ordinary but they are one of the most versatile vegetables and are at their best quality in the summer. They can be dipped cucumbers in hummus, shredded to make Greek tzatziki or even added to your watermelon or tomato salad.