Summer produce – what’s not to love? Well, until you get that piece of fruit that has so little flavor that you slump with disappointment.
It happens to the best of us. I’ve talked to a lot of farmers and have a little secret to share on why fruit really is better from the farmers market. Well, it’s kind of a big ‘ahha’ moment that will make everything suddenly clear.
Tips to pick and store summer produce
Do you know the peach trick? Look for a yellow indented area on the stem-end that tells you the fruit ripened longer on the tree.
Did you know strawberries can be picked while they are mostly white and they will turn fully red in the grocery store? While their color changes, their flavor doesn’t improve.
Eggplants soak up flavor like mushrooms, making them a great recipe companion for summer grilling.
Click on any of the produce pictures below for a full guide, with information verified by University research studies and interviews with farmers.
Fruits in June
Most fruits don’t get sweeter or develop more flavor after they are harvested, but they will change color and get softer, giving the appearance of a great fruit. So picking them out can be tricky.
Many farmers offer samples at the markets – the best way to ensure you’re spending money on a good tasting fruit.
Ending soon: cherries start to wind down in June and you can sometimes find them in July.
Vegetables in June
A lot of summer’s heat-loving vegetables start to show up sometimes in June, like bell peppers and zucchini. Depending on your region or the weather that year, some might not show up until the end of the month or into July.
Ending soon: Artichokes and asparagus start to wind down and disappear during June. So pick some up and enjoy them one last time.
(Technically, some of these classify as fruits, like tomatoes, but I categorized them here because of how we think of them).
For a full list of other months and all of the detailed produce guides, go to the in-season page.
But you’re here for recipes so let’s get to those first. Then below the recipes, at the bottom of this post, you’ll find my farmers market insight if you’re interested.
Farmer’s market recipes for June
This collection is special.
You see, most monthly lists grab recipes where the main ingredient is in season, but overlook that several supporting ingredients are not. I admit, it drives me crazy! If I am going to take the time to go to the farmers market, I want to make use of everything they have to offer.
So I wanted to share my own collection – things I am making this month. These recipes all use ingredients that are in-season for June (or available at high quality year-round, like lemons or limes), and have a creative spin on the ingredients.
Let’s start off with some appetizers and snacks…
Eggplant Dragon Roll from Produce Made Simple
Did you know eggplant soaks up flavor like mushrooms? Get more eggplant tips and recipes.
Green bean fries with a trio of dipping sauces – recipe by Platings and Pairings
Buy organic green beans – regular ones have one of the higher concentrations and toxicity levels of pesticides. Get more tips and recipes for green beans or read more about organic vs conventional produce.
Baked, stuffed artichokes – recipe by Simply Recipes
Artichoke season is coming to an end. Grab a few for this recipes. New to artichokes? Get tips on what you are even supposed to do with them, and a few other recipes on the artichoke guide.
Mozzarella, tomato and red pepper bruschetta – recipe by The Gourmet Gourmand
Cherry & plum toast with blueberry whipped ricotta – recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain
Pico de gallo – recipe by The Girl who Ate Everything
Cherry tomatoes will be slightly sweeter, larger tomatoes might have extra water you want to drain out in a colander. Get more tips & recipes for tomatoes.
Crunchy cucumber rolls with herb cheese – recipe by Nutrition Stripped
Ever get a bitter cucumber? It happens when there are big temperature swings while they grow. Get more tips & recipes for cucumbers.
Eggplant parmesan bites with marina dipping sauce – recipe by Just a Taste
Learn how to pick and store eggplants.
Oatmeal fig bars (gluten free, and vegan) – by Bakerita
A fully ripened fig oozes that sweet honey flavor. Get tips on picking the ripest ones & more fig recipes.
And now for some salads, soup, and sandwiches
Almond-crusted goat cheese, peach and fig salad – recipe by The Floating Kitchen
Grilled nectarine, blueberry, and chicken salad with honey mustard dressing – recipe by As Easy as Apple Pie
Blueberries have a shorter season than Nectarines, so make this in summer while you can still get them. Valencia oranges are in season in summer and fall, so look for that variety. The rest of the ingredients are available year-round.
Thai peanut chicken noodles with charred corn and lime watermelon – recipe by Half Baked Harvest
The sugar in corn turns to starch after it is picked, so fresher is better. Get more corny tips & recipes (I couldn’t resist).
Spotting a good watermelon is actually quick difficult, but we still have a few tips to share.
Vegan quinoa salad with oranges, spinach and bell peppers – Recipe by Gluten Free with LB
Valencia oranges are in season in summer, so look for that variety. Want to get other tasty recipes that feature bell peppers? We’ve got a bunch, along with tips on selecting and storing.
Mexican street corn soup – recipe by Striped Spatula
Want to learn the easiest way to shuck corn? I found a video for that along with more corn recipes on this page.
Asparagus picnic sandwich with olives and goat cheese – by Ask The Food Geek
Asparagus season is ending, so enjoy it one last time with this sandwich – it stays crisp all day, making it perfect for a picnic.
Did you know fresh asparagus is sweeter? Get more tips and recipes for asparagus.
Grilled summer vegetable sandwich with rhubarb BBQ sauce – recipe from Edible Perspective
Next up – some meaty main dishes…
Pork tenderloin with cherry & peach salsa – recipe from Floating Kitchen
Roasted muscat grape, steak and farro salad – Recipe by Ask The Food Geek
Grapes start to show up in June, even though we think of them as a fall fruit, thanks to early-maturing varieties. Learn about the different types of grapes & get more recipes.
Baby back ribs with blueberry balsamic BBQ sauce – recipe by Kitchen Confidante
If you haven’t tried blueberry-based BBQ sauces, you should. They are delicious. Get more blueberry tips & recipes.
Pistachio-crusted chicken fingers with raspberry mustard sauce – recipe by Wholesomelicious
The recipe calls for frozen raspberries – no problem, you can sub in the same amount of fresh ones.
Raspberries are some of the most delicate fruit, which doesn’t ship well. So definitely seek out a local source or you’ll be getting berries that were picked way too early. Get more raspberry tips & recipes.
Some vegetarian main meals…
Asparagus shakshuka – by Recipes from a Pantry
Bell peppers come into season in early summer, right around when asparagus season is ending. So this is a perfect use for the very last asparagus you can find.
Spring “Mojito” stir fry with toasted bar nuts – recipe by Ask The Food Geek
Asparagus season is coming to an end this month, this is a great way to enjoy the last of it! Get more asparagus recipes to enjoy one last time.
Snap peas are sweeter right after harvest – get more tips & recipes for peas.
Baked eggplant parmesan – recipe by Andie Mitchell
A vegetarian option for chicken parmesan. Get more eggplant recipes.
Garlic parmesan “zoodles” – recipe by Gimme Delicious Food
Zoodles – zucchini turned into noodles with a spiralizer. Get tips on selecting the best summer squash & more recipes.
Some pizza for good measure…
Margherita flatbread pizza – recipe by Let the Baking Begin
Ahh, a perfect, simple way to enjoy fresh tomatoes. Learn about the different kinds & their best uses on the tomato guide.
Blackberry basil pizza – recipe by The Food Charlatan
Do you sometimes think blackberries are bitter? The stem and core sometimes contain small amounts of bitterness. But that is countered with fatty foods like cheese… making them perfect on a pizza. Get more blackberry tips and recipes.
A few veggies sides, maybe some get stuffed!
Cheddar and sausage stuffed zucchini boats – recipe by The Garlic Diaries
Get more zucchini boat and zoodle, and other summer squash recipes on the zucchini & summer squash guide.
Quinoa lasagna stuffed peppers – recipe by The Girl on Bloor
She layers the ingredients in the pepper like you would for lasagna, and it looks delish!
Did you know green bell peppers have a slight bitterness that red, yellow, and orange ones don’t? But that can actually help in a recipe with ingredients like cheese and meat that contain fat, as the bitterness and fat work well together. Get more tips on peppers on the bell pepper guide.
Grilled eggplant salad with mustard vinaigrette – recipe by Cooking and Beer
Yes, this comes with a beer pairing suggestion: a summery and light farmhouse ale.
Love eggplant, or trying to figure out how to use it? There are plenty of more recipes on the eggplant guide.
Tomato & cucumber pasta salad with avocado – recipe from Five Heart Home
Roasted tomatoes with goat cheese polenta – recipe by Pinch of Yum
Cherry tomatoes are the first to show up in the market – and this is a great way to use them. Get more recipes for tomatoes.
And of course, a few desserts and drinks to end the day…
Strawberry pistachio crumble – by Love & Lemons
This will be best with fully ripe, flavorful strawberries. Your best bet is to pick some up from the farmers market where you can sample before buying. Get more tips & recipes for strawberries.
Blueberry lemon curd hanpies – recipe by Vanilla and Bean
Lemons are good year-round. Blueberries have a short season so get them while you can. And get more blueberry recipes too.
Cherry almond galette with brown sugar – recipe by The Road to Honey
Use sweet or tart cherries depending on your style (and what’s available). Want to learn more about cherries – read the cherry guide.
Strawberry shortcake trifles – recipe from Cooking Classy
How cute are these? Get more strawberry recipes!
Blueberry-peach greek yogurt cake – recipe by Karthi’s Kitchen Studio
Honeydew and berries yogurt popsicles – recipe by Mommy’s Home Cooking
Did you know the rind on honeydew should be slightly tacky when it is ripe? Get more tips on picking & storing melons.
Peach strawberry fizz – recipe by Use Your Noodles
Why is fruit from the farmers market better?
Now that you saved some of those fun summer recipes, let’s get back to what I talking about earlier… about how I talked to a bunch of farmers and their insight made everything click.
Farmers sell fruit to two very different markets. Grocery stores, and direct to consumers at farmers markets. (That’s not news, don’t sorry, that’s not the ‘ahha’ moment).
The grocery stores want fruit that will ship well and last as long as possible on the shelves, which means they want fruit that was picked well before full maturity. Consumers want great-tasting fruit – which you only get when fruit was fully ripened before being picked.
So farmers go into the fields or orchards and pick the fruit. The ripest ones are set aside to make their way to the farmers market, and the rest go to the grocery stores. Ahha! So better fruit really does go to the farmers market!
There’s just one more thing you should know – most fruit doesn’t get sweeter or more flavorful after it is harvested. You might have already known that. But they do still turn color after harvest, even from unripe greens to fully colored. They also soften after harvest. This allows grocery stores to masquerade their fruit as ripe, delicious treats… which happen to have no flavor.
Find some good recipes or tips? Share this list with your friends!
Want even more recipes? The Vintage Mixer has a seasonal list as well with a lot of really great looking recipes.