From crisp corn to juicy watermelon and ripe peaches, the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables coming into our Produce department is an exciting celebration of colors, flavors and textures. Here’s what’s best in season this summer so you can get cooking — or not, since all of these can be enjoyed raw. We also feature weekly sales on your favorite produce, so make sure to check your store before you shop.
Though berries are around for the whole year, summer brings a windfall of peak-season sweet blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. They’re best stored unwashed in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days — wash them just before you eat them.
Cherry season is on now, and it’s short but so sweet. When our field inspectors scout out cherries for our stores, they’re looking for fresh green stems and firm, juicy fruit. Add them to salads, desserts and salsas — and keep an eye out for unique varieties like Skylar Rae and strawberry cherries.
Squashes like zucchini and yellow squash are some of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen. They can be eaten raw as vegetable noodles or crudités, diced for omelets or simply grilled. Store your squash haul in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer and wash just before using.
Long, warm days and light summer meals make fresh corn a summer must. Generally at its sweetest when it’s eaten as close to harvest as possible. If you have local corn available in your store, summer’s a great time to enjoy what local farmers have harvested.
Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons
Melon season is when our Produce department celebrates a variety of melons, so it’s a great time to try something new. Keep an eye out for unique varieties like Galia, Hami, Canary, Casaba or Crenshaw melons.
Fruits with pits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries (and the many juicy stone fruits in between) — peak at different times throughout the summer. Firm fruits are great for grilling, but if you prefer riper fruit, store on the counter until there’s a slight give.
From little grape and cherry tomatoes to the large varieties of heirlooms, summer is the absolute best time of the year for tomatoes. That’s when you’ll spot a whole spectrum of colors and sizes — each type of tomato varies in texture, sweetness, juiciness and acidity, and this is the time to try them all.
Nothing says summer like watermelon. Packed with cooling, hydrating juice, it’s the ultimate heat quencher. A whole watermelon will keep at room temperature for seven to 10 days. Although it’s best to eat ASAP once cut, it can be refrigerated for two to three days.
Long celebrated as a summer staple in the South, okra is more versatile than you might think. Fried okra and gumbo are the usual go-tos, but okra really stands out when it’s pickled, it picks up smoky flavor well on the grill or when it’s halved and roasted into oven fries.
The season’s sweetest grapes are here for the summer. Chilled grapes make the easiest snack, but frozen grapes make smart “ice cubes” for chilling wine. Look for firm, fresh grapes — the greener the stem, the fresher the grapes — and wash just before eating.