Boy, when the summer crops start rolling in they sure don’t stop!

Thanks to some cooler temps and consistent rain we’re seeing a bumper harvest of all our summer favorites in Lucille’s Garden.

Have you been down to visit Lucille’s Garden yet this summer? Just a short walk past the Pollinator Preserve, our vegetable garden has been producing like mad (over 1,800 pounds donated to the Media Food Bank already!). Stop by to catch the last of the summer vegetables. You might even pick up a few tips about how and what you can grow in your own garden – we are always happy to chat and share our knowledge!

From delicious, thin-skinned, early bulam to sweet and juicy tomatoes the harvest has been bountiful – and colorful too! Summer does a good job of reminding us to eat the rainbow. 

This is the season to celebrate plenty, and to savor the rewards of the seeds sowed in the spring. So let’s take a look at some of our favorite ways to use the bounty of the garden. 

Eat the Rainbow

Bruschetta Salad

Sometimes the simplest things taste the best, and this summer staple has always been a favorite of the Italian side of my family. 

  • 2-3 of your favorite heirloom beefsteak tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella 
  • A few handfuls of fresh basil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Pinch of salt 

Slice your heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a shallow platter with slices of fresh mozzarella – we like to use a few different types of tomatoes to get shades of red, yellow, and even green. Drizzle balsamic over top and sprinkle a little salt to taste. Slice the basil thin and garnish before serving. 

Tomato, basil and mozzarella - a classic combination.

Don't forget how versatile corn can be!

Fresh Corn with Jalapeno and Garlic

When I was little my grandfather kept a farm in Sweetwater New Jersey, and fresh corn was a religion for him. He would set the water the boil on the stove and run out the door to pick the corn when the first shimmer of bubbles appeared. His goal was to get it picked, shucked, and in the boiling water in less than 2 minutes to preserve all the sweetness of the fresh ears. As a corn purist this recipe would not have appealed to his sensibilities. Still, if you’re sick of eating corn on the cob boiled, steamed, or grilled this is a fresh new take. I like this recipe because it’s endlessly adaptable. You can add a splash of lime, or a handful of fresh basil, a little balsamic for extra sweetness, or cilantro….the possibilities are endless.

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 jalapeno chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic chopped fine
  • Salt to taste

Grill the corn (or boil or steam, as desired) and cut the kernels off the ear when it’s cool to the touch. Heat the butter in a pan and sauté the garlic and jalapeno until soft and fragrant. Add corn and toss to coat. Cook corn until lightly toasted (about 2 minutes) and remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and serve!

Zucchini Every Way

Anyone who keeps a garden knows that come July and August it’s a good idea to keep a variety of zucchini recipes handy. That is, if you don’t want to start leaving baskets of them on your neighbors’ front porch! When I’m sick of adding sautéed, roasted, and grilled zucchini to every dish I like to break out this handy trick. I take my spiralizer and make zucchini noodles – or zoodles! This is a great use of the mammoth zucchini that sometimes appears overnight. You can also incorporate tomatoes and basil in a simple sauce. Personally, I still use some pasta – I find a 50/50 mix of zoodles and noodles makes a good blend. Bonus, if you have children this is a good way to work some extra veggies into a favorite meal! 

  • 1 mammoth zucchini or 2-3 traditional zucchini, spiralized
  • Pasta
  • Your favorite pasta or cheese sauce. 

Cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Heat ready-made sauce, or toss some cherry tomatoes with olive oil and garlic and cook until the cherry tomatoes burst. Add your zoodles, stirring to combine. Toss with pasta, top with fresh basil and serve! 

Zoodles are a great way use up your zucchini (and sneak some extra veggies onto the plate).

Nothing beats fresh tomato sauce.

Winter is Coming

Before we know it the autumn squash and gourds will make their appearance in the garden. Already in Lucille’s, we’ve harvested the first delicate and baby butternuts. There are even four huge pumpkins growing on the vine. Right now they are green, but it’s only a matter of time before temperatures drop and they shade to orange. Each time I check on them they serve as a reminder to savor this busy summer season, and all the delicious bounty it provides. 

Happy Gardening!