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Eat Your Veggies: 4 Garden-Fresh Recipes

From just-picked tomatoes to cool cucumbers and aromatic basil, ’tis the season for a fresh-from-the-garden feast. Keep reading for some simple ways to turn this month’s harvest into a delicious, nutritious meal.

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Submitted by Off the Vine Catering, 32006 Aerojet Road, Rancho Cordova, 916-351-1592,

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad


•    1 small seedless watermelon, cubed
•    1 medium red onion, diced
•    1 English or homegrown cucumber, peeled to create green and white “stripes,” deseeded, and cut into half slices
•    1 basket heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
•    1 bunch fresh basil, julienned, plus 4-5 basil leaves
•    ½ cup feta
•    4 tbsp. balsamic glaze
•    Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix watermelon, onion, cucumber, and tomatoes together; add feta, salt, and pepper. Toss and chill until 30 minutes before serving. Add balsamic glaze and toss. Place in serving bowl and garnish with basil leaves and a bit more feta.

Summer Farm Salad

Submitted by The Argonaut Farm to Fork Café, 331 State Hwy 49, Coloma, 530-626-7345,

Summer Farm Salad


•    1 head seasonal organic lettuce, finely chopped
•    1 peach or stone fruit of choice, thinly sliced
•    Handful of candied almonds
•    Handful of sunflower sprouts and pea shoots
•    Fresh herbs & edible flowers of your choice
•    1 grilled chicken breast (optional)
•    ½ avocado, sliced
•    Salt and pepper, to taste
Cashew Cream Sauce:
•    2 cups cashew nuts
•    1 1/4 cup warm water
•    1–2 garlic cloves
•    1 tsp. sea salt

Make cashew cream sauce. Blend all ingredients in a blender until thick. Chill before serving.
Layer lettuce on plate or a large wooden bowl; add sliced fruit and candied almonds; delicately place sprouts, pea shoots, fresh herbs, and edible flowers. Place grilled chicken and sliced avocado on the side and drizzle cashew cream sauce on top.

Fresh produce is one of the highlights of summer, [but did you know] eating locally can actually build your immunity, prevent allergies, and strengthen your connection to the cycles of nature? Freshly harvested food is also easier to digest—it contains more prana or "life force." In fact, the older the food, the less prana and the more strain it places on your digestion. So, whenever possible, eat food that’s been harvested moments before or the day-of consuming. Then, slow down and tune into your appreciation for the Earth, the elements, and the farmers that grew your food.”—Brigette Faieta, The Argonaut Farm to Fork Café

Open-Faced Veggie Bagel Sandwich

Submitted by Flower Farm Café, 9280 Horseshoe Bar Road, Loomis, 916-652-5661,

Open-Faced Veggie Bagel Sandwich


•    Bagel
•    Cream cheese
•    Farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes
•    Fresh veggies of your choice like cucumbers, red onions, and sweet peppers
•    Larrupin sauce (available to purchase at Flower Farm Café) or any Swedish-style, mustard dill sauce
•    Torn basil

Toast a bagel of your choice. Spread both faces with cream cheese. Layer on thin slices of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and sweet peppers. Drizzle with Larrupin sauce and garnish with basil.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pickled Onion

Submitted by Courtney McDonald of Four Tines Farm, 9140 Mount Vernon Road, Auburn, 530-392-2649,

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pickled Onion


•    3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
•    3/4 cup sugar
•    3/4 cup water
•    1 red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
•    1 cup all-purpose flour
•    1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
•    Pinch cayenne
•    2 eggs, lightly beaten
•    1/4 cup buttermilk
•    2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
•    Vegetable oil for frying
•    6 medium, firm (unripe) tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
•    1 tsp. Dijon mustard
•    4 oz. baby arugula
•    6 slices cooked bacon (reserve bacon fat for the vinaigrette)
•    1 basket mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
•    Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat vinegar, sugar, and water in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Add the sliced red onion and set aside to pickle for about 10 minutes. Drain the onion and set aside, reserve the pickling liquid for the vinaigrette. Pickled onions can be made up to three days ahead.

Set up three rimmed plates or wide bowls for breading the tomatoes. In the first plate, mix the flour with the Old Bay seasoning, cayenne, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. In the second bowl, mix the eggs and buttermilk. In the third bowl, mix the cornmeal with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/8 inch. Toss the tomatoes first in the flour mixture, then coat in the egg mixture, then in the cornmeal. As you bread the tomatoes, place them in the heated oil and fry to a golden-brown color, flipping over to brown evenly. Drain on paper towels.

Make the vinaigrette with 2 tbsp. pickling liquid, Dijon mustard, and ¼ cup bacon grease. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, line a large platter with the baby arugula, saving a few leaves as garnish. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over arugula, then top with fried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pickled onion and cooked bacon. Garnish with more arugula, then drizzle remaining vinaigrette over the top. Serve immediately.

Local Produce Boxes

Looking to eat fresh without having to harvest? These places will gladly pick your produce for you.

It’s Organic!
Choose your type of organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables delivered weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Check website for delivery locations. 916-905-2212,

Mama Earth Farm
Organic fresh fruit and veggies delivered weekly or biweekly in the greater Placerville/El Dorado County area. Pickup locations also available. 530-363-4505,

24 Carrot Farm
Order organic, sustainable produce, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, or coffee beans online for pick up in Placerville. 2731 Jacquier Road, Placerville, 530-391-8582,

Build your own or have a box delivered of organic fruits or veggies—or both. Check website for delivery locations.

The Natural Trading Co.
Get a harvest box of summer produce every week through October. Pick-up sites include Roseville, Rocklin, and Auburn. 916-409-9440,

Farm Fresh To You
Fresh organic produce and artisan farm products delivered to your doorstep. Choose frequency and look for delivery locations on the website. 800-796-6009,


When building a well-balanced summer salad, layer greens, add a fruit, a healthy fat such as avocado, and a protein like meat, nuts, or seeds.

By Tara Mendanha