Surprising foods we grow in Nova Scotia

 

Summer means lots of good stuff from our farmers. You can probably name a bunch of things we grow here, but we thought we’d share our delicious list of things you might not know we grow. Look for them when you’re shopping for local this summer.

 

Eggplant might not jump to mind as being local. Well, surprise. We grow it here in the summer months and it loves the grill. Simply slice into rounds, apply a generous amount of olive oil and grill away. Bigger is not better, so look for medium sized ones, and eating raw eggplant is not recommended. If you’re looking for a little eggplant recipe inspiration, we love this Succotash dish from the Kilted Chef.

 

One of our favourite Asian Greens is bok choy. The Chinese have been cultivating it for 5000 years. It’s been a little less than that for Nova Scotia farmers. The leaves are mild, and the white stalk has a nice cabbage crunch. We love it in stir fries and soups. It can also be eaten raw and is packed with vitamins A & C.

 

Fennel. What can we say? It catches a lot of people by surprise with its slight licorice flavour…and we’re talking black licorice, not cherry. It’s fantastic thinly sliced in a salad, or you can slice it, toss it with a little olive oil and roast in the oven. Or, you could make this delicious Leek, Fennel & Basil Tart.

 

When you think melons, you think the sunny south, right? But come mid-August (give or take a little), you can find Nova Scotia grown watermelons, cantaloupe and more. The season is short and the supply is not as big as many other summer crops, but they are out there, and they are delicious.

 

Zucchini probably doesn’t surprise you as grown locally. But it might surprise you that the delicate yellow zucchini blossoms are also edible and delicious. They can be eaten raw, but their shape makes them ideal for stuffing and either roasting or deep frying. We stuffed them with cooked bacon, chopped mushrooms and ricotta cheese. Try that. Try whatever you like as stuffing. Just try zucchini blossoms.

 

One of the best things about living in Nova Scotia is that we do have a diverse agricultural base. From collard greens to kohlrabi, there are new tastes to be discovered. One important note. You can likely find some of these products year-round in grocery stores, but if they are out-of-season here, they were likely grown someplace else. When you’re shopping at the grocery store or farmers’ market, make sure you Ask for Local.