In the height of the sunshine season — family vacations, downtown concerts, summer festivities, early sun rises and late sunsets — it can be easy to feel a bit drained by the time fall rolls around.

Luckily for us, it’s also the time locally grown produce is at peak production. Community farmers markets and local grocers are bursting with ripe berries and carefully stacked, farm-fresh vegetables.

Taking the time to prioritize these foods, grown in our place, is the ultimate act of self-care, and here’s why:

For thousands of years, we only were able to eat what was grown, raised or foraged within a small radius of where we lived.

But our bodies are wise. When we are eating with the seasons, we are eating foods that are light, energizing and cooling in the spring and summer (sprouts, greens, berries, cucumber, fennel), and warming and grounding in the fall and winter (squashes, root vegetables, onions). When we eat foods that are naturally available during that season, it matches what our bodies need at that time.

Eating with the seasons is not only a way to get back in sync with your body’s natural rhythm, but an opportunity to support a larger community effort with each meal we eat.

Summer Berry Salsa

An innovative way to eat more berries, this twist on tomato salsa can dress up salmon or a steak, or be served with chips or cucumber slices. Feeling more savory? Swap the berries with farm fresh tomatoes, which will be ripening around Whatcom County this month!

1 pint strawberries, quartered, or diced if large

1 pint blueberries, whole

1/2 pint blackberries, whole or halved

1 jalapeño pepper, minced (seeds removed for less heat)

1/2 red onion, diced small

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop all ingredients as above

Toss ingredients together lightly; season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Fennel Kohlrabi Slaw

Kohlrabi is like the jicama of the Northwest. Its watery crispness is refreshing in salads — think the sweetness of jicama and the spiciness of a radish. Kohlrabi can be eaten cooked or raw, and the leaves are great to throw in a stir-fry. Mild and delicious, especially when dressed up with floral fennel and the tangy dressing for this slaw.

1 medium bulb fennel, julienned — or in matchsticks

1 medium kohlrabi, peeled, and chopped into matchsticks

1/2 red onion, sliced into half-moons

1/2 cup fennel leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres)

2 tsp local honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop fennel and kohlrabi into matchsticks. Add sliced onions.

Mix together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and mustard.

Add dressing to fennel bulb, kohlrabi, and onions and toss to coat.

Add salt & pepper to taste, and garnish with fennel leaves.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

3 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp butter

2–3 Tbsp milk or water, as needed

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 cup chives, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop cauliflower into florets, and add to steamer basket, along with garlic cloves.

Steam cauliflower for 7–8 minutes, or until you can pierce it with a fork.

Add steamed cauliflower and garlic to a food processor with an S blade. Add rest of ingredients, and blend until creamy.

Add butter. Add milk or water as needed to make consistency creamy.

Garnish with sprinkle of chopped chives.

Pan-Seared Salmon

Two 6-oz wild salmon filets

1 Tbsp butter or oil

Pinch salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Remove salmon filets from refrigerator and place at room temperature for 15–20 minutes before cooking.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil or butter, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle salt onto filets, then carefully place in pan, skin-side down

Cook the salmon for about 4 minutes for a thinner filet (1/2 inch), or 6 minutes for a thicker one.

Then, flip the filet and cook for one additional minute.

Remove filet from pan, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Top with Summer Berry Salsa and enjoy!

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"Eating with the seasons is not only a way to get back in sync with your body’s natural rhythm, but an opportunity to support a larger community effort with each meal we eat."