I love late summer for the food. It is prime harvest time in the garden and this weekend I squealed with delight when I realized it was time (finally!) to harvest my Rattlesnake bush beans. These gorgeous heirloom snap beans produce wide cream and purple streaked pods that are crunchy, juicy, and amazing grilled. Plus they are pretty enough to put on a post card.
In the same vein, I also love Fairytale eggplant. In late summer loads of teardrop-shaped purple and white fruit form on the plant. Again, I love to cook these eggplants on the grill, where they take on a delicious smoky flavor.
Jaune Flamme is a wonderfully sweet, palm-sized bright orange tomatoes that we eat fresh and also slow roast in the oven—where they reduce into in a sweet, densely flavor-packed treat that tastes delicious in pasta, with hummus, or all on their own.
Beaver Dam peppers are an heirloom that hail from the Midwest. The bright red peppers taste sweet and fruity at first but pack a punch of heat at the end. They're perfect for stuffing and lovely to look at.
I usually grow Trombetta summer squash on an obelisk in the middle of a perennial border planted with bee balm, rudbeckia, and pineapple sage. The big, bold blossoms of the squash are just as pretty as the perennial flowers and the fruit dangle off the vine like giant-sized earrings. I prefer Trombetta to zucchini and yellow squash because the seeds are concentrated in the bulbous base on the squash and the neck is entirely seed free. It has delicious nutty flavor and produces tons of male flowers, which we like to harvest and stuff into quesadillas.
There are five of my very favorite things growing at this time of year, but I want to know what you are harvesting in your garden!
Share your favorite varieties (and why you love them!) in the comments below. I’m always looking for new varieties to try next year!
Willi Galloway is the author of Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, and she writes about organic vegetable gardening and seasonal cooking on her blog, DigginFood.