The best thing you’ll eat all year — and it’s ALL LOCAL

For those who love to cook and eat, nothing beats August in Ohio.

This dish doesn’t have a formal name — it’s a vegetable saute or stir-fry, but those names don’t do it justice. Let’s call it “The Best of Ohio Summer, From The Garden To Your Belly.”

And here’s the best part: ALL of the ingredients can be sourced locally, and they’re all at or close to their peak season right NOW.

You can get the ingredients for this at most local farmers markets. I sourced them from the Five Rivers MetroParks 2nd Street Market in downtown Dayton, the Greene County Farmer’s Market at the former KMart across from The Greene, and Hungry Toad Farm south of Centerville. But I do believe I could have gone to any ONE of those markets and gotten everything I needed. Several grocery stores are stocking locally (or regionally) grown vegetables used here.

This video will help tell you how, but read below for more explicit instructions:

You can make this all-local garden-fresh dish at home.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (okay, the oil probably isn’t local)

1 large sweet onion

1 large or 2 small sweet bell peppers, red or orange

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

2 ears sweet corn

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL: Red pepper flakes, fresh garlic (local garlic is in season too!), torn fresh basil leaves.

Chop onion and sweet peppers, and cut the zucchini and squash to your preferred size. Cook the sweet corn (2 ears can be microwaved for 6 minutes IN the husk — let cool, then remove husks and silk), and cut the corn from the cob. Set aside. Mince a few cloves of fresh garlic, if using.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan or wok. Put in chopped onion, and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, if using. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped red/orange bell pepper along with minced fresh garlic, is using. Saute 8-10 minutes until bell pepper begins to soften, and onion becomes translucent. Add kernels of corn cut from the cob, saute for 1 minute. Add sliced squash and zucchini. Cook for a few minutes if you like your squash to retain some crunch, longer if you want them softer. Turn off heat. Stir in halved cherry tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in torn basil leaves, if using.

The dish is as good at room temperature as it is warm. And this is a healthy dish you’re going to WANT to eat.

Your body, your taste buds, and your local farmers will ALL thank you.

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