By Adam Calder

Usually around this time of the season we have an abundance of local produce available at Wheatsfield Cooperative, and this year is no exception!

The local cantaloupe melons have been selling by the bin-full, and rightly so!  They are juicy, ripe, and emit an enchanting musk that lures you in with daydreams of slow summer Sunday afternoons snacking on these delightful fruits.

Our produce department is thick with local tomatoes.  From your standard red slicing tomato for sandwiches to the unique shapes, colors, sizes and flavors of the many heirloom tomatoes we carry, we’ve got your tomato needs covered.  If you’re looking for a tomato snack, our Iowa grown grape and cherry tomatoes will hit the spot.

What would a fresh, local tomato be without some tangy basil to go with it?  Well we’ve got that too, and while the local basil we carry is greenhouse grown and available year round, the basil takes on an especially delicious flavor during the long daylight hours of the summer months.

Don’t forget the local sweet corn!  Have you really enjoyed summer if you haven’t had a cob of corn in your mouth?  Sure, it may just be a clever way to deliver salt and butter to your mouth, but what a sublime delivery method!  The season for local sweet corn is as short as the corn is sweet, so if you see some, grab it quick! It might not be there tomorrow.

The local greens have been in good, steady supply this season and the flavor has been exceptionally good.  The bugs have taken note of this, as the local organic lacinato kale, chards and collard greens have been coming in looking a little tattered from bug bites.  Think of the bug-induced holes in the leaves as marks of endorsement left by vegan connoisseurs.

We’ve got a plentiful supply of local organic beets, cabbage, cilantro, green beans, jalapeno peppers, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, orange bell peppers, purple globe eggplant, zucchini squash, summer squash and cucumbers too!

The local blueberries are coming in strong, and we’ve just started to get a taste of the early summer apples.  As we move out of summer and into fall, the apple variety availability will explode and our produce department will be overrun with delicious, colorful, aromatic, crunchy local apples!

If you bought just one of every local produce item available at the co-op right now, your cart would be bountiful and full.  If you threw in just a few of the many options we carry store wide for local meats, cheeses, breads, beers, wines, jams and herbs your cart would quickly be overflowing.

It’s easy to sell the idea that your store has all the offerings of a local farmers market. It is an entirely different undertaking to actually have those local products available for sale. You need to have a dedicated group of staff who work tirelessly with the local community of farmers, butchers, cheese makers, brewers, artisans, craftsmen and craftswomen to make it happen, which is exactly what we do at Wheatsfield.