Inspiring Local Produce

  • By:  Rachel Burns

Welcome to the first-ever Buy Fresh Buy Local monthly column for Tidewater Women. I am Rachel Burns, director of Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads, and I’m excited and honored to have a space in this publication to share information about what foods are in season and available locally. We’ll also feature fantastic recipes and local-food events.

With summer here and the kids out of school, it’s the perfect time to take a family trip to the farm or farmers market. Most of the local strawberries have come and gone, but June brings its own bevvy of berries including blueberries and blackberries. Many local farms have started offering u-pick berries that will soon be rivaling the strawberry fields in popularity. And there are no limits to what you can do with these super fruits. My personal favorite is an afternoon power smoothie: blend frozen berries with Greek yogurt, flax seeds, and local honey. For dessert lovers out there, nothing beats a berry cobbler or crisp. See the recipe below from our partners, Pungo Blueberries.

Late spring and June also bring us an underrated, but very powerful little vegetable: the spring onion. An easy plant to grow yourself and wildly productive, the spring onion is usually reduced to being chopped up and sprinkled on top of soup as an afterthought or listed in recipes with the notation “optional,” but these little green tubes and their white and yellow bulbs can really pack a punch. The spring onion soup recipe below can be made with the white and yellow portions of the onion and then sprinkled with the thinly sliced green portions.

Still looking for inspiration? How about that old summer standby: yellow squash. If you’ve ever planted squash in your own garden or had a friend or neighbor who did, then you know how abundant this vegetable can be. But fortunately, there are enough delicious recipes out there to keep up with their rate of growth, so check out the curried squash recipe from BFBLHR board member, Kate Wilson.

June is also the month when many local farmers markets will be opening up, so make sure you check with your local agriculture department, extension agent, or visit our website or Facebook page for daily updates on local food happenings around Hampton Roads.


Blackberry Oatmeal Crisp

Six servings

1 quart (4 cups) blackberries

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup uncooked quick rolled oats

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Put berries in ungreased baking pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Mix butter, rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar until crumbly; sprinkle over berries. Bake at 350˚ about 30 minutes until lightly browned. Note: For extra enjoyment, serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Source: Pungo Blueberries, Etc., Virginia Beach


Spring Onion Soup

Four servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 pounds spring onions (or yellow onions), trimmed and thinly sliced

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

2 cups water

8 pieces crisp flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt, stock, and water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree in a blender, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, blending until soup is smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls, drizzle with oil, and serve with flatbread on the side.



Roasted Curried Squash

Summer squash, zucchini - any variety, as many as you want to use

Quality olive oil to taste

kosher or sea salt

Red curry powder (yellow curry powder should work but won’t be as flavorful)

Thinly slice squash approx. 1/4-in. thick, using food processor or mandolin. Place in large bowl and gently toss with olive oil to coat. Spread on baking sheets or jelly roll pans in one layer. (It’s OK to overlap if some of the slices are extra thin.) Lightly sprinkle with salt and red curry powder on one side. Roast in 400°F oven for approx. 30 min. Check periodically, and turn over as needed. Remove trays from oven and cool. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Note: Due to the high water content, squash slices do not crisp like root vegetables when roasted. Gently scrape up the squash from the trays into a bowl. They may look mushy, but will serve well when cold.

Source: Kate Wilson 


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