At The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles, we think nothing in the world tastes better than fresh-picked fruits and veggies, especially those that have matured right here under the California sun.
If, like us, you prefer to buy your fruits and veggies when they are the freshest off the farm, here’s an insider’s guide to the best California fruits and veggies available in July.
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California’s warm summer weather is made even sweeter when accompanied by brightly colored berries. And California sure is a berry-loving state. Nearly 90% of the nation’s strawberry crop and 74% of its raspberry yield are grown here. And while Oregon is typically known as the home state for blueberries, California also produces a respectable 10% of the nation’s blueberries.
July, which is National Berry Month, is a perfect time to indulge in these luscious treats that are packed with healthy benefits. Take the strawberry for example. This superfood is chock full of Vitamin C, is high in antioxidants as well as manganese and potassium, and is said to protect your heart, increase (HDL) good cholesterol, and help reduce your risk of cancer and high blood pressure.
Okay, so technically the strawberry isn’t a true berry. Because it wears its seeds on the outside, the only fruit to do so, the strawberry has the dubious distinction of being an “accessory fruit.” Yeah, we’re going to keep calling it a berry.
Interestingly, strawberries also don’t continue to ripen after they are picked, so be sure to find the freshest batch you can—all fruits and veggies are brought in daily to our produce merchants—and don’t hesitate to dive in. If you do plan to store berries in the fridge for a day or two, wait to wash them until you’re ready to eat them, as water can speed up their spoilage.
Or, you can up your antioxidant intake by enjoying a fresh-squeezed berry juice at Farm Fresh Produce and Greenhouse. Custom blends are no problem, just let the juicer know how you’d like your beverage prepared.
July, which is also Watermelon Month, is a perfect time for biting into a juicy wedge of watermelon during a lazy summer picnic. California is the third largest producer of watermelons and our farmers here harvest 15% of the country's entire crop.
Although watermelons are more than 90% water—a great way to stay hydrated on a hot summer afternoon—they also carry their share of nutrients including a healthy serving of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. One cup of watermelon has nearly 150% the lycopene you’d find in a cup of tomatoes.
Both the rind and the seeds also contain healthy benefits and some health experts suggest blending the rind with some lime juice for a healthy treat. Don’t mind munching on the black seeds? That’s great, as you’ll also be consuming a powerful dose of iron, zinc, protein and fiber.
Incidentally, the watermelon wears many hats. While it is considered a melon, it is also technically a berry. But it is also considered a vegetable as it is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
Special Treat: For a refreshing beverage in the summer heat, Farm Fresh Produce offers fresh watermelon juice handy for you to quench your thirst on the go.
While sweet summer fruit are a delicious way to celebrate the lazy days of summer, there’s nothing like adding a little zing to your culinary efforts by pairing almost anything with a rub, press, or squeeze of garlic.
California produces almost 90% of the nation’s yield of this vampire-repelling produce.
If you’re not slaying vampires, garlic is also said to keep away heart disease, cancer, the common cold and the flu. You can also mix crushed garlic with water and give your garden a spray to help keep spiders away.
The benefits of garlic date back to ancient times. Roman soldiers, apparently, were given garlic to make them more courageous in battle while ancient Chinese doctors used garlic in many of their natural healing remedies.
Not sure how to use garlic? You can bake it for a spreadable treat, press it as a flavorful addition to chicken and vegetable stock, or even infuse it in your favorite vodka for a distinctive cocktail.
Special Treat: Garlic fans will want to try Huntington Meats & Sausages' Hot Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe found in our very own Original Farmers Market Cookbook. This delicious dish packs a garlicy punch and can be served over your favorite pasta, on Italian sandwich rolls, or by itself!
Seasonal Veggies Harvested in July
Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chile Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Garlic, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes
Seasonal Fruits Harvested in July
Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Honeydew, Lemons, Nectarines, Oranges, Peaches, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon
Read about what’s in season in August in our Market Buzz blog now.