Best of Summer Gardens

Purple Flowers in a Garden

It’s mid-summer in Minnesota, and that means two things: 1. Produce farms and home gardens are ready to drop an abundance of fresh produce; and 2. The first possible snowfall is only two-and-a-half months away. So, let’s focus on the goodness to come this summer. Here’s my “Best of” White Bear Lake: garden edition!

  1. Tomatoes so flavorful you close your eyes and tip your face to the sun.
  2. Watching “your” hummingbird enjoy the plants you specifically chose to entice them back to your house.
  3. Zucchinis are three inches long on Monday and 12 inches long by Friday.
  4. Stopping to buy sweet corn at your favorite farmers’ roadside stand and returning four more times that week.
  5. The outdoor grill replacing the indoor stove as a summer norm.
  6. Stopping by the White Bear Lake Farmers Market on Friday mornings for a flower bouquet, a loaf of fresh bread and community.
  7. Sharing your homegrown produce with friends, family and neighbors.
  8. Boat rides on the lake with friends. Supplying the mint for mojitos will definitely get you an invitation back!
  9. Herbs in all your salads and in your favorite vase in the kitchen.
  10. Taking time to smell the flowers … literally. Yeah, that is a cliché but do it anyway!

Now that we’ve covered the best of summer gardens, let’s talk about what to do with all those extra tomatoes. While I love a BLT (or many!), pico de gallo is one of my favorite ways to utilize this garden staple.

Pico De Gallo

  • 2 cups tomatoes such as roma, cherry, grape or firm round cut into small pieces
  • 1 jalapeño (take out seeds and membranes if you want mild heat)
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 2 fresh cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • a dash of red wine vinegar

Combine and let sit for 30 minutes. Enjoy with chips or toasted baguette, preferably while lounging in the summer sun.

Karin Costa is the owner of Costa Produce Farm & Greenhouse.
9411 Dellwood Road; 651.653.1269
Facebook: Costa Farm Greenhouse
Instagram: @costaproducefarmgreenhouse