At N4L, summertime means one thing: veggies. Lots and lots of veggies. Our Summer Produce Box is packed to the brim with fresh vegetables straight off our farm delivered right to your door.
Want to know what to expect in your box? Read on to find out and get some great tips and inspiration to enjoy our favorite summertime produce.
From sweet crunchy bells to hot spicy jalapenos, most of us are familiar with the bold flavors peppers can add to any dish. We know the impact they can have on our taste buds, but do you know the impact they can have on your health?
Peppers are a great source of vitamins C and A, folate, and potassium. They’re also low in calories and full of phytonutrients that can help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. One phytonutrient called capsaicin, found in chili peppers, can have pain-relieving effects.
We grow the tastiest varieties of peppers at our farm, some of which you've likely never even heard of.
- Islander – similar in taste and shape to a bell pepper, the islander pepper has a beautiful purple color that resembles that of an eggplant. Use them just as you would bell peppers.
- Flavorburst – a bell pepper with a burst of additional flavor, this yellow-colored pepper is a sweet, crunchy addition to any dish.
- Olympus – the Olympus Pepper is a boldly flavored bell pepper. Snack on slices, dice them in salads or sauté them – you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Escamillo – this pepper is a sweet, bright yellow pepper, similar to a sweet Italian pepper. You can eat them raw or cooked and they're delicious in anything from salads to chilis!
- Jalapeño – if you are a fan of spicy food, then you are likely already familiar with the heat of jalapeños. They are great for adding a bit of spice to salsas, nachos, or guacamole, but they also taste delicious stuffed with cream cheese or a dairy-free alternative.
Fun ways to use peppers
Peppers are versatile veggies that can be used in a variety of ways. Check out our produce card for some inspiration.
- Slice peppers and dip them in hummus for a tasty snack.
- Stuff peppers with quinoa and black beans like in our Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Pepper
- Add flavor to your stir-fries and fajitas by sauteing them with diced onions and .
- Pickled peppers! Yes, you can pickle peppers. They make a tasty topping for salads, sandwiches, tacos, and grain bowls!
There's a reason New Jersey is known as the garden state. The tomatoes grown here are literally some of the best in the world, thanks to a perfect combination of soil quality and weather conditions.
In addition to their fantastic taste, tomatoes offer many health benefits. They are a great source of vitamin C, folate, iron, and potassium. They also are a rich source of antioxidants, like lycopene, which may protect against certain types of cancer, including prostate, breast, cervical, stomach, and rectal.
While raw tomatoes are undoubtedly delicious and healthy, cooking tomatoes makes the lycopene more bioavailable for us to use. The addition of fat like N4L olive oil helps you absorb the lycopene even better.
We are excited to introduce you to some new tomato varieties that we are sure will become your new favorites.
- Blue Beech – blue beech tomatoes are not, as their name suggests, blue. They are an elongated red tomato, great for canning or eating raw.
- San Marzano – aficionados of Italian cuisine are familiar with the San Marzano tomato. They are often used to make tomato sauce but are also perfect for caning, stewing, or roasting.
- Pozzano – with a similar oblong shape as San Marzano tomatoes, these tomatoes are perfect for canning and sauces.
- Amish Paste – these bright red long tomatoes are great for snacking on, tossing in salads, or using to make sauce or homemade tomato paste.
- Yellow Brandywine - the golden yellow color of these tomatoes makes them as beautiful as they are tasty. Juicy and sweet with a little bit of acidity make the Brandywine great to eat raw in salads, sandwiches, or toppings for bruschetta.
- Cherokee Purple - these heirloom tomatoes are a deep, dark, almost purplish red color. Their texture and sweet taste make them perfect for eating raw in appetizers, as a snack, or in a salad.
Fun ways to use tomatoes
While most of us use tomatoes in sauces, salads, and sandwiches, we hope the incredible sweetness and flavor will inspire you to get excited in the kitchen. Use the produced card for some wash and prep tips.
- Summertime tomatoes are so sweet they taste great just on their own or drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Cool off with our gazpacho – a flavorful cold tomato soup.
- Make a big batch of tomato sauce and freeze it to use in the winter when fresh tomatoes are not in season.
- Try a new take on stuffed peppers and use tomatoes instead. They become tender and sweet and add a whole new flavor and texture to a well-loved meal.
Move over eggplant parm! In addition to being a tasty summer staple, eggplant offers several health benefits. Our Summer Produce Box will be sure to inspire you to find new delicious ways to incorporate eggplant into your diet.
Eggplants are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. They are rich in antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which gives them their vibrant purple color. These antioxidants can protect against DNA damage and act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
- Orient Express – this variety of eggplant is thin and long but maintains the deep aubergine color of more commonly eaten eggplants. Its delicate flavor makes it perfect for stews and roasting.
- Asian Delite – these eggplants are slender and elongated with bright purple skin. Their mild taste makes them perfect for stir-fries or grilling.
- Orient Charm –with their light purple hue and mild taste, these eggplants are perfect for curries and sauces.
- Traviata – when you think of eggplant, you are likely to imagine this traditional dark Italian variety. The Traviata is great for roasting and grilling. Our produce card has more ideas.
Fun ways to use eggplants
Check out these fun new ways to use eggplant this summer.
- We tend to think of eggplant in Mediterranean dishes, but they make a great addition to Asian-inspired stir-fries and curries.
- Summertime is for grilling and eggplant is no exception. Our Soba Noodle Salad with Pesto and Grilled Eggplant is perfect for hot weather entertaining.
- Ratatouille is a traditional French summertime recipe and a great way to use up your eggplant, tomatoes, and summer squash. Freeze it for an easy veggie-filled meal on a night you don’t have time to cook.
- Try out some eggplant dips. Baba Ganoush, Melitzanosalata, and Moutabal are just a few dips that showcase the delicious flavor of roasted eggplant.
These veggies are so seasonal they have the word summer in their name! Most of us are familiar with zucchini, a commonly eaten summer squash, but we want to introduce you to some more exotic varieties.
Summer squash is low in calories and carbohydrates which is why “zoodles” or zucchini spirals have become a popular substitute for pasta. They are also high in antioxidants, have anti-microbial activities, and may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Dunja – while it has an exotic name, Dunja looks and tastes like your traditional green zucchini. Grill it, sauté it or eat it raw.
- Yellowfin – this yellow zucchini has a mild flavor, making it the perfect addition to any summertime meal.
Fun ways to use summer squashLearn how to wash and trim squash with our squash produce card.
- Zucchini fritters are an easy and fun way to enjoy summer squash. Our Calabrian Zucchini Fritters offer a Southern Italian flair to this recipe.
- Summer squash is perfect for grilling and serving as a side dish at your barbeques.
- Bake up a few loaves of zucchini bread and keep some in the freezer to enjoy in the colder months
- Zucchini boats! Slice lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, stuff with your favorite fillings, and bake! Taco filling and Bolognese sauce are some of our favorites.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas availability starts in the spring, and they become more abundant as the summer progresses. This member of the legume family is low in calories and high in fiber and potassium.
You can eat sugar snap peas raw or cooked, making them a versatile summertime veggie.
Fun ways to use sugar snap peas
There are so many delicious ways to use sugar snap peas all through the warm summer months. Our snap pea produce card has some ideas or try one of these.
- Sugar snap peas are perfect for snacking on. Crunch yet slightly sweet they can be enjoyed on their own or used with your favorite dip.
- Stir-fries and sautés are a great way to use these summer veggies.
- Steam with a little sea salt or dulse flakes for an alternate to edamame
- Add to your favorite salad for some extra crunch!