Each year I find myself looking forward to the late summer when everything seems to slow down a bit as we soak up the last long, hot days that mark the bittersweet end of another summer. Before we trade our swimsuits for back to school and office outfits and switch our summer salads for pumpkin recipes, we enjoy one last late summer harvest.
Growing up, the late summer always brought with it one of my favorite treats: my Grandmother’s fresh chocolate chip zucchini bread. My Grandma Jo’s beloved garden sat in the field behind her and my grandfather’s home in Upstate New York, surrounded by a small fence to keep out the deer and rabbits that frequented the property. She tended to her garden often, loading her many tools onto a four-wheeler and setting out to work in the hot sun to ensure her fruits, vegetables, and herbs were properly taken care of.
In early August, her small garden overflowed with an abundance of zucchini, raspberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The meals of the following weeks were filled with produce from the garden in every way imaginable. Zucchini bread and muffins for breakfast, cucumber and tomato salads for lunch, and cakes with sweet raspberry sauce for dessert.
This flood of fresh fruits and vegetables brought some of my favorite meals of the summer, as well as some of the most cherished memories of my childhood. Long afternoons surrounded by my siblings and cousins, following directions to make delicious raspberry jam we liked to call “Grandchildren Jam” and enjoying her homemade desserts out on the deck surrounded by family as we watched the sunset. But what I looked forward to most was the late summer surplus of zucchini that meant homemade zucchini bread, with a special batch she would set aside for me made with chocolate chips.
As we enter the last few weeks of summer, as always, I look forward to sharing this recipe with my family and taking in the dog days of August.
Cooking provides such a special way to connect with family and friends and emphasizes the importance of nourishing ourselves with fresh, healthy foods. Come browse the market this month to stock up on seasonal summer produce grown by your favorite local farmers. It is food that you can feel good about eating and sharing.
Saratoga Farmers’ Market runs at Wilton Mall 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter – www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.