Skip to content

Healthy Harvest

By Gay Lyons

Celebrate the end of summer by enjoying the fresh fruits and vegetables that reach their peak during the long hot days of August. Tomatoes, corn, peaches and summer squash will be bountiful all month and into September. Before they go away for another year, indulge in these healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Revisit your favorite recipes and try out some new ones. We’ve gathered some favorites for you along with some fun facts about four of our favorite crops.


Fun Facts: Did You Know?

The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum meaning wolf peach.
Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to plump thing with a navel.
People used to be afraid to eat tomatoes, thinking them poisonous due to their relation to the belladonna (or deadly nightshade) plant.
There are around 10,000 varieties of tomatoes worldwide.
Americans eat 22-24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. About half of that comes in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.
In Spain, people throw over 150,000 tomatoes at each other during Le Tomatina, an annual festival.

Fix it Now

Stacked Tomato
Bobby Flay/Food Network

3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish
Sweet basil dressing

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Place a slice of the mozzarella on top, add a few basil leaves and finish with another tomato slice. Top with more tapenade, mozzarella and basil. Place a final tomato and top with a spoonful of tapenade. Drizzle the sweet basil dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make four to six servings.

2 c. kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted
3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
5 anchovy fillets
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process all ingredients to desired consistency. Note: Can substitute prepared tapenade.

Sweet Basil Dressing:

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. honey
3/4 c. pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, adding the basil leaves last.

Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote
Dorie Greenspan/Around my French Table

2 ½ T. good olive oil
16 fresh cherry tomatoes
24 basil leaves
Salt and pepper
4 pieces salmon filet, 5 ounces each
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 475. Cut four 12-inch squares of foil. Put five basil leaves in the center of each piece of foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a piece of salmon (skin side down). Drizzle a teaspoon of oil over each piece and season with salt and pepper. Put four tomatoes on one side of the salmon and grate the lemon zest over everything. Give each packet a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Cut eight thin slices from the lemon and put two slices on top of each piece of fish. Top with basil leave and sprig of thyme or rosemary. Seal the packets, making sure they are airtight and allowing space between the fish and the top of the packet. Put packets on baking sheet and place on center rack for 10-12 minutes. Serve in packets or spoon onto plates.


Fun Facts: Did You Know?

Corn was first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago.
With the exception of Antarctica, corn is produced on every continent in the world.
An ear or cob of corn is actually part of the flower and an individual kernel is a seed.
On average an ear of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows.
Corn will always have an even number of rows on each cob.
In the days of the early settlers to North America, corn was so valuable that it was used as money and traded for other products such as meat and furs.

Fix it now

Fresh Corn Salad
Ina Garten/The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

5 ears corn, shucked
1/2 c. small-diced red onion 
3 T. cider vinegar
3 T. good olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp.freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. chiffonade fresh basil leaves

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for three minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature. Serves four.

Julia’s Succotash
Julia Reed/The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook
6 slices bacon
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded, minced
3 c. sliced okra
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
6 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off cob
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Cook bacon in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add onion and jalapeno to drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, over low or medium heat four to five minutes. Increase heat to medium, add okra and cook for five minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another three to four minutes. Add corn and simmer, partially covered, until it’s tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dash cayenne and basil. Crumble the bacon, sprinkle it on the top and serve. Serves six to eight.


Fun Facts: Did You Know?

Scientifically the peach tree is known as prunus persica.
Peaches originated in Northwest China but are now found in most of the world.
Peaches were mentioned in literature as early as 79 A.D. 
Peaches are a stone fruit and a member of the rose family. 
The average lifespan of a peach tree is about 12 years.
There are over 700 varieties of peaches worldwide.
California produces about fifty percent of peaches grown in the U.S.
A large peach has fewer than 70 calories. 
The world’s largest peach cobbler (11 feet x 5 feet) is made every year in Georgia. 
August is National Peach Month.

Fix it now

Peach and Green Tomato Relish 
Frank Stitt’s Southern Table

½ large sweet onion, cut into thick slices
2 large firm green tomatoes
1 lime
1 firm peach, peeled, pitted and diced
1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
2 scallions, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small bunch chives, finely chopped

Prepare a hot grill or preheat the broiler. Grill or broil the onion slices three to four minutes per side, or until blackened and charred. Cut tomatoes into wedges and remove pulp and seeds. Cut flesh into one-half inch dice and place in small bowl. Grate zest from half of the lime, then halve the lime. Add peaches to tomatoes, along with the lime zest and juice of half lime. Add jalapeno, grilled onion, scallions and ginger and toss to mix. Add olive oil and salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings. More lime juice may be needed. Serve with grilled fish, shrimp or roast pork. Can be used as a salsa.

Roasted Jalapeno
Place on hot grill or under broiler, turning occasionally until skin is black and charred all over. Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 10 minutes. Remove blackened skin, wearing gloves if you wish. Remove stem and seeds. 

Iced Summer Peaches 
Lynne Rossetto Kasper/The Italian Country Table
4 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
5-8 T. sugar
1 c. dry white wine
4-6 sprigs fresh mint
Layer peaches in glass bowl, sprinkling each layer with a tablespoon of sugar. Use less sugar rather than more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate two to three hours. Taste peaches for sweetness, adding more sugar as needed. Pour in wine to barely cover, turning the fruit gently with spatula to blend. Cover again and refrigerate four to six hours. Take fruit out of refrigerator 30-45 minutes before serving. Spoon peaches and their liquid into wine glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serves four to six.

Summer Squash

Fun Facts: Did You Know?

The summer squash originates from Mexico and Central America.
Scientists have found summer squash seeds preserved in Mexican caves that
are over 10,000 years old.
Squash comes from the Narragansett Indian word "askutasquash." Which roughly translates into "eaten raw or uncooked."
The most common types of summer squash in the U.S. are zucchini, crook neck, straight neck and scallop.
One zucchini is a “zucchina.”
Florida leads the states in squash production, followed by New York, California, and North Carolina.
Obetz, Ohio hosts an annual three-day zucchini festival every August. 
There are 36 calories in a one cup serving of squash.

Fix it now

TriColor Summer Penne 
Gina Homolka/The Skinny Taste Cookbook

8 oz, penne pasta
1 zucchini, seeded and cut into ¼ inch thick matchsticks
1 yellow squash, seeded and cut into ¼ inch thick matchsticks
1 ¼ c. shredded carrots
1 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 T. thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook pasta to al dente in a pot of salted water. Add zucchini, squash and carrots during the last two minutes. Reserving one-half cup cooking water, drain pasta. Heat a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add oil and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, two to three minutes. Quickly add the drained pasta and vegetables, one-fourth cup of reserved pasta water, grated cheese, half teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook, tossing everything together well, for about one minute, adding remaining water if mixture seems dry. Remove from pan, toss with basil and serve hot.

Zucchini Pie
Personal collection

1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 ½ lbs. zucchini, grated and drained
½ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ lb. swiss cheese, grated
4 eggs, beaten
½ c. half and half
1 T. flour (optional)
¼ tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Saute onion in butter until golden. Mix cheese with zucchini and onion. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a nine-inch greased deep dish pie pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is set. 

NOTE: The most important step is draining the zucchini. It needs to be drained, drained, drained and squeezed dry. You can use any kind or combination of grated or shredded cheeses. Baking times will vary based on oven and on how much moisture you squeezed out of the zucchini. It will puff up and brown when done.


Nourish Knoxville
Nourish Knoxville was incorporated five years ago to expand upon the local food work started by the Market Square Farmers’ Market. Since its beginning in 2004, the Market Square Farmers’ Market has grown to be one of the top producer-only farmers’ markets in the country. Nourish Knoxville was created to take on projects beyond the farmers’ markets.

One of Nourish Knoxville’s most popular programs is the Power of Produce (PoP) Club, which provides a fun opportunity for children to engage in the local food system through conversations with farmers, educational games and demonstrations and exposure to new fruits and vegetables. PoP Club kids receive vouchers to spend, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market. PoP Clubs are found at Market Square Farmers’ Market, New Harvest Park Farmers’ Market and Eastside Sunday Market.

Nourish Knoxville works to increase the availability of fresh produce to individuals who need assistance in obtaining healthy local foods through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and through the practice of gleaning, which helps get market leftovers to those who can use them. 

Consumers may use their SNAP cards to save on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and participating Kroger stores. Volunteers with the Society of St. Andrew collect end-of-market donations from farmers and donate them to local agencies providing food for the hungry. Farmers are eligible for tax deductions for their donations.

Nourish Knoxville provides a Veggie Valet service at no charge at the Market Square Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. The Veggie Valet holds items for customers while they enjoy downtown without having to drag their purchases around with them. They can pick up their purchases on Wall Avenue in their vehicles any time before the market closes.

Pick Your Produce
Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are available at farmers’ markets and produce markets around town. Check this list to find the best location for you. You’re sure to find one convenient for you on the following list. Check their websites for dates and times.

Dixie Lee Farmers’ Market (12740 Kingston Pike)
Eastside Sunday Market (Tabernacle Baptist Church/2137 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.)
Ebenezer Road Farmers’ Market (1001 Ebenezer Road)
Farm Fresh Produce (3617 Sutherland Avenue)
Horn of Plenty Market (9132 Middlebrook Pike)
Lakeshore Park Farmers’ Market (5908 Lyons View)
Marble Springs Farmers’ Market (1220 W. Governor John Sevier Highway)
Market Square Farmers’ Market (501 Market Street)
New Harvest Park Farmers’ Market (4700 New Harvest Lane)
Pratt’s Country Store (3100 Tazewell Pike)
Three Rivers Market (1100 N. Central Street)
UT Farmers’ Market (UT Gardens/Neyland Drive)

Choose Your CSA

An acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, CSA refers to a group whose members receive weekly shares of food from a certain farm (or groups of farms) in their region. A CSA allows you to support a farm, enjoy freshly picked local fruits and vegetables and try things you might not otherwise add to your shopping list. You purchase a share of the harvest for a season, paying the farm in advance for a basket of produce every week. Each CSA is different. It’s too late to order your CSA for this year, but August is the perfect time to contemplate the available options and sign up for next year.

For information and a chart comparing the CSAs offered by the farms listed below, visit

A Place of the Heart Farm
Abbey Fields Urban Farm 
Care of the Earth Community Farm
Crooked Road Farm 
David Lay Farms 
Herb and Plow Farm
Hines Valley Farm
Lacewing Farms 
Mounts Family Farm 
Musick Mountain Farm 
VOL Supported Agriculture 
Wilson Family Farm 
Zavels Family Farm

More Stories

  • Editor's Letter

    Last month I was introduced to the term “Maycember” comparing May to the exceptionally busy month of December. It highlights how end-of-school-year activities, graduations, sports events and other commitments can make May feel as overwhelming and festive as the holiday season. And Maycember certainly lived up to its name.  Read More
  • New Concept Boutique Truxx Collective Brings Curated Style to Bearden

    Truxx Collective is open in Bearden with elevated style and a focus on design details across a carefully curated selection of everything from sweats to high-end ready to wear.

    The boutique welcomes customers at 4479 Kingston Pike, a few doors down from The Fresh Market in the Western Plaza Shopping Center.

    Read More
  • K&P Remodeling Showcases Dedication to Community by Supporting Blessing Boxes

    K&P Remodeling, headquartered in Knoxville is proud to announce its ongoing commitment to community service by actively supporting Blessing Boxes throughout the areas it serves. With operations in 11 states, K&P Remodeling recognizes the importance of giving back and making a positive impact in local communities. Read More
  • Johnson Architecture Welcomes Community to New South Knoxville Headquarters with Open House

    Johnson Architecture has officially opened its new headquarters in South Knoxville’s waterfront district amid a community of parks, restaurants and other local businesses.

    The full-service architecture, planning and interior design firm held an open house on May 9 to celebrate the new offices, now located at 2018 Davenport Road off Sevier Avenue. Attendees raised a glass to commemorate the newly renovated space and Johnson’s plans for the future.

    Read More