It is argued that summer is the peak time of the year for many local fruits and vegetables. But there are some specific produce items that you can’t miss out on in the month of July. These seasonal favorites include crops like plums and blueberries, as well as the lesser-known anise hearts that also thrives in the month of July. This summer, keep your eyes open for these versatile and varied crops at your favorite farmers market for your summer appetite.

At the top of the list for July fruits to try are blueberries. One of the most recognizable fruits, blueberries are known for their numerous health benefits. The berries have a reputation of being rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients and have all the qualities of a superfood. Whether incorporated in a smoothie, salad, or a sweet dessert, the possibilities of blueberries are endless.

Another summer favorite is the juicy plum. Did you know that the majority of domestic plums are grown right here in California? Plums are equally enjoyed fresh or dried as prunes. Try plums in a freshly baked tart or preserve them in a plum jam. From the same family as plums and peaches is the nectarine.  Nectarines look very similar to peaches but lack fuzzy skin. Nectarines have been known to strengthen immune systems and promote youthful skin. For a sweet summer treat, make a unique and delicious nectarine upside-down cake.

Experiment with a new ingredient and try a July spice like the anise heart.  This unique spice is a member of the magnolia family and is the seedpod of the evergreen tree. Known for its licorice taste, it is commonly used in Asian cuisine. Anise hearts are known to enhance the flavors of dishes as shown in this carrot soup recipe. For a good July vegetable, pick up string beans. These beans are known by different names all over the world from “green beans” to “squeaky beans” and come in approximately 150 varieties. This versatile bean is widely recognized and can be grown in varying environments. See all the different ways this vegetable can be enjoyed by trying a new string bean dishes.

We hope you try all these different crops that are available at local markets throughout the month of July.