A picture of fresh summer produce

With tons of produce back in season, your diet just got way more colorful

The weather’s warm, the flowers are blooming, farmer’s markets are in full swing…this all means one thing: summer is here!

The Pacific Northwest is a cornucopia of fresh produce, and the spring and summer months result in some of the year’s best harvest. We wanted to highlight some of the healthiest, most versatile ingredients you can get in the summer, as well as suggesting some quick and easy ways to cook them.

1. Asparagus

Asparagus has been nicknamed the “food of kings” because of it’s rich history – King Louis XIV had greenhouses built just so he could eat it as much as possible. This vegetable is high in fiber, low in fat, and grows especially well from mid-April to June. They are so easy to cook too – our preferred method is to coat in olive oil, season with fresh lemon and garlic, and bake on 415 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes. Our tip is to pair it with fresh fish, which are rich in fatty acids and Omega-3s.

2. Radishes

One cup of radishes can give you 30% of your daily Vitamin C requirements, and accounts for less than 25 calories. Most times they are used as garnish, but we wanted to give you a salad recipe as well: start with two cups of sliced radishes, as well as one cup each of cucumber and then red onion; whisk enough olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic and dill to coat the vegetables, then pour and mix. Keep the mixture covered for an hour before serving.

3. Oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are one of the many varieties grown in Oregon, and certainly one of the tastiest: besides their flavor, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. We recommend sautéing them in vegetable oil and cider vinegar. Pair these with teriyaki sauce and baked salmon, and you have a quick, healthy meal on your plate.

4. Fava beans

Fava beans, unfortunately popularized by Silence of the Lambs, are loaded with nutrition. They also have no cholesterol or saturated fats. They are commonly sautéed with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Add some couscous and you have a terrific vegetarian dish that’s packed with protein!

5. Rhubarb

Rhubarb was used for thousands of years as a Chinese medicine, then making its way to North America in the 19th century. Thankfully so, as it’s packed with calcium and Vitamin K, two essential nutrients. Your healthiest option would be to eat it as part of a fruit salad, though many people use it in pies and crepes.

Most of these ingredients will be available at your farmer’s markets. They’re all great ways to get your essential vitamins and minerals, and terrific options for a seasonal diet.

Have some recipes, questions or suggestions of your own? Let us know! We’d love to hear what you’re up to in the kitchen, and other uses you have for these delicious ingredients. Until then, enjoy!

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