Although every season offers fun and adventure, there is just something about summer that seems so…magical. Maybe it’s the memories of childhood summers well spent, but even as a working adult, summer always brings with it the promise of new finds, new adventures, freedom, lazy days and, of course, yummy foods. Whether you are grilling, growing your own garden, visiting a farmer’s market, or eating some cool treats, summer foods are among the best! Because we always want food to be an exciting adventure for everyone, here is a little list of ideas to try this summer to bring the fun back to food. We mentioned a few of these in this month’s newsletter, but here are a few to add to your summer bucket list!
Visit a farmer’s market. Visiting a local farmer’s market is a great way to see what local producers have to offer and support local! You can discover so many cool food finds – meat, poultry, fruits, veggies, jams and jellies, salsas, grains – the possibilities are endless!
Visit a berry patch or orchard. This is a great activity for the whole family! Not only do you get to spend time outdoors, you also get to pick your own produce and enjoy the fruits of your labor (you see what I did there?). For kids, this can be a valuable lesson in learning where our food come from!
Visit or participate in a community garden. Community gardens have been increasing in popularity over the past several years and for good reason. They provide a sense of community, education, and resources, such as land, tools, etc. They also give back to the community, often providing food to the underserved and beautifying areas that were once eyesores. If you have never been to one, it is worth checking out. You may just be inspired to join one or start your own!
Grow your own garden. If you are lucky enough to have an area where you can plant your very own garden, try it out! You don’t have to have a yard – even a small patio, porch or balcony can serve as a garden if you have a container, dirt, water and seeds. Gardens can be so rewarding and serve as another excellent way of showing us the process of where our food comes from and how it grows!
Grill a new food. Don’t get me wrong – hamburgers and hot dogs are classic summer grilling fare. But if you are feeling adventurous, pick something new to throw on the grill! As mentioned in our newsletter this month, grilling fruits can add so much fun to many dishes or even just by themselves. Try out a new grilled veggie or a new cut of meat. Try a new marinade or rub. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have fun!
Make your own frozen treats. My kids love ice cream and popsicles. And so do I. Making your own summer treats can be so fun and easy. And you decide what you put in them! For ice cream, my family loves to use our Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker, and for popsicles we love these reusable molds.
Have a picnic. Whether a family affair or a romantic date night, picnics can be fun for everyone. Go to a park, beach, lake or even just your own back yard! It can be as fancy or as simple as you wish. We love finger foods for picnics, and fruits and veggies are a quick and easy option any time!
Go to a food festival. They are everywhere in the summer! From friendly food competitions to specific festivals that center around different ethnic foods to those that might be partial to produce (watermelon festivals are always a hit), there is a food festival for everyone!
Try out new food trucks. They are fast, often local and help bring delicious food to the masses. I live in a small town with very few dining out options, so the weekly visits from multiple food trucks in the area is always a welcomed treat. You can find them anywhere from local parks, food festivals, community events, work events, weddings, breweries, wineries…the list goes on and on!
Take a summer road trip adventure – for food! There are so many great foods to try in each state, and who doesn’t love a summer road trip? Take a look at what is near you for a day trip or make your rounds to further destinations.
Give back! Start a canned food drive for your local food bank or volunteer to help. Giving back to your community is always a fantastic idea. Talk with your local food banks to see what they may need. They can always use some help! This is a great way to teach your kiddos (and learn yourself) about food insecurity in your community and beyond, as well what you can do to help!
Take a tour of a local farm. Farm tours are SO fun and interesting, and a great way to learn about where your food comes from! From dairy farms to fish hatcheries to bee farms and everything in between, there is always a farm to find!
Take a tour of a winery or brewery. Craft breweries and wineries have made a climb in numbers in recent years. There is a science to making great drinks, and it is so interesting to learn about the processes behind different libations. Even if you don’t drink much (or at all), it is still worth seeing how much thought and knowledge goes into the process!
Take a grocery store tour. Local grocery stores often have free tours all year long. It is worth taking the time to get to know your favorite store and maybe find some new food ideas in the process!
Take a cooking class. Check your local listings for places that offer classes – these are great for everyone, from your most experienced cook to the novice wanting to learn the basics. Take one with your friends, as a date night or even sign your kiddo up for any offered to their age group! It’s never too early or late to learn new things!
Take a food tour in your area or wherever you may vacation. This is often a great way to find local digs you may not have known about or experience local favorites in a place you don’t live.
And lastly…ENJOY YOUR FOOD! Wherever your summer plans lead you, learn to fully embrace the food you are eating and appreciate it for what it was made for – to nourish your body AND to enjoy! From touch to texture to taste – it is ALL important! Play, experiment and find joy!