What's in Season? June in Illinois

Happy Midsummer!

It finally feels like summer here in Chicago and I'm absolutely loving it! Although I've lived in the Illinois/Wisconsin area for almost 26 years, I still love the muggy warmth that reminds me of North Carolina, where I was born. I also love the abdundance of produce that's available, although I've been sorely remiss in visiting our local farmers markets. Work hours over the winter were long, and cooking energy has been in short supply. Things have recently improved, though, and as my energy level tends to rise with the temperature (and the economy encourages us to stay home), the kitchen has been calling.

Epicurious has a nifty interactive map that lists peak season produce by month and state. For June, the following is at peak season in Illinois:

asparagus, cabbage, cherries, eggplant, garlic, nectarines, okra, peas, rhubarb, and strawberries.

I've placed an order with Irv and Shelley's Fresh Picks for local strawberry and rhubarb. I've never made a pie with rhubard, and I've always wanted to. They also had garlic scapes available (it's the flower stem that shoots up from the garlic bulb before the bulb matures) and since I've never had them before, I'd thought I'd give them a try. Turning them into pesto seems to be popular, so that's the recipe I plan to use. Keep an eye on this space for a report on how it goes!