Fresh produce abundant in North Carolina

Published 7:50 am Sunday, August 4, 2019

Summertime fresh produce is extravagantly plentiful in August in North Carolina. These recipes call for vegetables and fruits that are now farm fresh from 50,218 North Carolina farms. The economic impact of those farms is $12.5 billion per year.


Tomato-Cucumber Salad

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Farm fresh tomatoes, cucumber and onion can all come from North Carolina farms.



6 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped

1 medium cucumber, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup cilantro, chopped and stems removed

1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

What to Do

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Toss to combine.

Sprinkle salad with salt and pepper, and then toss again.

Add chopped cilantro and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.


Melon Cakes with Rosemary or Lavender Syrup

By Mary Carter in


½ cup sugar

½ cup water

4 sprigs either rosemary or lavender

3 medium-size melons of your choice (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, etc.)

What to do

Place sugar, water and either rosemary or lavender in a small saucepan. Stir often over low heat until thick. Set aside to steep overnight.

Slice melons into ½-inch thick slices. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or drinking glass, cut melons into circles. Stack however you prefer. Drizzle herb syrup on top.

Makes: 8 servings


Apple Salsa

From August through February, apples are fresh from North Carolina orchards.

Recipe by Kim Galaez

From My Indiana Home, on


4½ cups apples, unpeeled and finely chopped

¾ cup red onion, finely diced

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced

½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

½ cup yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely minced

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/3 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

What to Do
In a large bowl, lightly toss apples, both types of onion, bell peppers, garlic, jalapeño pepper and cilantro,

In separate small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended.

Pour over apple mixture and toss lightly. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Serve with tortilla chips.


Squash and Cabbage Sauté

Cabbage, fresh from the farm, is available now and through the end of the year and zucchini is ready now.

The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, 1990 edition


3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil

1 cup chopped green pepper

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon vinegar

¼ teaspoon oregano, crumbled

¼ teaspoon thyme, crumbled

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

What to do

Melt the butter or oil in a skillet. Add the green pepper, squash and cabbage and cook over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the squash is barely tender. Stir in salt and pepper, vinegar, oregano and thyme. Serve at once.


Best Fried Eggplant Sandwich


2 smallish Italian eggplants, roughly 1 1/2 pounds total

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

4 hero rolls

2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices

8 ounces sliced cooked roast beef (optional)

1 cup hot cherry peppers, or to taste, sliced

What to Do

  • Line a large, rimmed sheet pan with paper towels. Trim stem end from eggplants, then peel and discard skin. Using a knife or a mandoline, slice the eggplant lengthwise into 3/16-inch-thick slabs. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt. Let stand for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Pat eggplant dry with paper towels, and stack on a plate.
  • Discard the wet paper towels, and replace them in the sheet pan with more, then place a wire rack on top. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmery. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slabs until just tender, approximately 30 to 40 seconds per side. Transfer fried eggplant to rack to drain. Remove skillet from heat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and grated Parmesan. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat until the oil is hot again.
  • Working in batches, dip drained eggplant into egg batter, then fry in oil until puffed, lightly golden and cooked through, approximately 2 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer fried eggplant to rack to drain. You can cook the eggplant in advance of assembling sandwiches. Covered, it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, though the eggplant is best at room temperature.
  • Assemble sandwiches. Cut the hero rolls open, then spread each one with mayonnaise. Layer the slices of eggplant onto the bread in equal portions, and top with equal portions of the mozzarella and the sliced roast beef. Add slices of hot cherry peppers to taste, fold the sandwich together and serve.

Note: Commenters recommend initial broiling or baking with brushed oil on eggplant rather than fried.



Cold soups for the summer

Corn, sweet corn