It’s mid-summer in Minnesota, and that means two things: 1. Produce farms and home gardens are ready to drop an abundance of fresh produce; and 2. The first possible snowfall is only two-and-a-half months away. So, let’s focus on the goodness to come this summer. Here’s my “Best of” White Bear Lake: garden edition!
- Tomatoes so flavorful you close your eyes and tip your face to the sun.
- Watching “your” hummingbird enjoy the plants you specifically chose to entice them back to your house.
- Zucchinis are three inches long on Monday and 12 inches long by Friday.
- Stopping to buy sweet corn at your favorite farmers’ roadside stand and returning four more times that week.
- The outdoor grill replacing the indoor stove as a summer norm.
- Stopping by the White Bear Lake Farmers Market on Friday mornings for a flower bouquet, a loaf of fresh bread and community.
- Sharing your homegrown produce with friends, family and neighbors.
- Boat rides on the lake with friends. Supplying the mint for mojitos will definitely get you an invitation back!
- Herbs in all your salads and in your favorite vase in the kitchen.
- Taking time to smell the flowers … literally. Yeah, that is a cliché but do it anyway!
Now that we’ve covered the best of summer gardens, let’s talk about what to do with all those extra tomatoes. While I love a BLT (or many!), pico de gallo is one of my favorite ways to utilize this garden staple.
Pico De Gallo
- 2 cups tomatoes such as roma, cherry, grape or firm round cut into small pieces
- 1 jalapeño (take out seeds and membranes if you want mild heat)
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1/2 to 1 cup finely diced onion
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 2 fresh cloves
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- a dash of red wine vinegar
Combine and let sit for 30 minutes. Enjoy with chips or toasted baguette, preferably while lounging in the summer sun.