Are you creating Pinterest-worthy cheeseboards and popping loaves of homemade sourdough bread into the oven? How about the garlic-thyme focaccia that was surfacing all over social media?

I never knew my passion in the kitchen could grow any stronger until a world-wide pandemic struck. Not only was I researching extravagant new recipes and delving deep into my mom’s old cookbooks, but I was also experimenting with eccentric ingredients during the peak of their season. It was basically a daily episode of Chopped in my childhood kitchen. The Vitamix blender has never gotten more use. Even at 7 am. I’m not sure if my family hated it -or loved it?! Maybe both.

My mom and I took full advantage of local farmers markets this summer. We stopped at about five different farm stands on one of our weekend getaways. It was an exciting opportunity to get out of the house and explore what each unique farm had to offer. From the fresh produce to the iconic fruit pies and endless tubs of delicious guacamole. It didn’t get better than that guac.

With Pinterest as my trusty right-hand man, I discovered unique new summer recipes that used produce at the peak of their season. I now know all the ingredients you should be cooking with this summer. Right now. Not only do they taste better but they can also be cheaper when purchased during this time. Put your own spin on them and get creative!

Here is a list of my current recommendations:


Peaches can fly under the radar. But there is truly nothing better on a hot summer afternoon. I decided to quite literally spice it up. In an effort to impress my Dad, I pulled out my Pyrex dish and made lemon-thyme infused peaches to top off his daily cup of vanilla ice cream. 

Emma Barker


In an effort to incorporate both peaches and tomatoes, I did just that. This salad was prepared with basil, mint (another herb at the peak of its season), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. My family loved it and it tasted even better knowing that the tomatoes were freshly picked out of our garden. 

Emma Barker

Sweet Cherries

Catch them quickly if you haven’t already. Sweet cherries are in season from May until August. I have taken full advantage of this delicious fruit, basically eating them like candy. Most recently I’ve incorporated them into my smoothies. Upgrade your typical morning breakfast and try blending up your cherries with chocolate protein powder. It’s the smoothie you never knew you needed.


Rosemary is growing like crazy in our garden. This aromatic herb not only smells divine but is also the perfect addition to a wide variety of dishes. Pictured below is my rosemary and thyme halibut cooked in parchment paper. This dish is so simple and never disappoints. 

Emma Barker


Whether you are a seasoned health expert and enthusiast or looking to incorporate more greens into your diet -kale can be used in a plethora of ways. I have been upgrading my traditional salads as well as trying out new recipes. Most recently I made braised chickpeas with tomatoes and kale. This dish was a heartier, protein packed vegetarian option that left me feeling satisfied.

Emma Barker

Head to your local farmers market or grocery store and pick up one of these ingredients. Recruit a friend or family member, turn on some music and get creative in the kitchen. With only a few more weeks left of summer, it is the perfect time to make the most of your last few BBQ’s. 

cabbage, broccoli, carrot, vegetable, swiss chard, kale, local produce, fresh vegetables, farmer's market
Sam Jesner