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produceFruits and vegetables are at their delicious best right now in southwest Michigan! According to Allissa McManus who, with her husband George, owns and operates Piggot’s Farm Market and Bakery on Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor, summertime favorites are quickly coming into season as you can see in the photos of the beautiful produce from their market.

Michigan-grown zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and cucumbers already available. Allissa mentioned that we are just days away from locally-grown sweet corn, tomatoes, and green beans making an appearance. Sweet cherries are nearly finished for the season, but there is still time to pick up a quart or two if you hurry.

Blueberries, one of my favorites, are also ripe for the picking. With a number of varieties grown in Berrien County, the season is expected to last until around Labor Day. And here’s a tip: buy the 5 or 10 pound box. Eat some now. Freeze some for the polar vortex months. You’ll be glad you did as you enjoy scrumptious blueberry pancakes in January.

If you want to connect with the origins of your food, check out a u-pick grower like Jones Berry Farm in Bridgman and The Blueberry Patch in Sawyer for those tasty blueberries. Stover’s Farm Market and U-Pic in Berrien Springs also has a wide variety of produce you can harvest yourself throughout the entire growing season. But remember, call ahead for availability, picking conditions, and hours.

Southwest Michigan produce is special because it is raised on family-owned farms by people who care about the quality of the food they provide. Picked at the height of ripeness, locally grown fruits and vegetables have a flavor that is beyond compare. So visit the nearest farm stand or market soon and experience the absolute best in eating.

About the author: Laura Kraklau is a lifelong resident of southwest Michigan who enjoys the foods, events, and outdoor activities that make this corner of Michigan so special. She loves exploring and sharing the unique beauty of the region through photography. Among her favorite subjects are the Lake Michigan shoreline, farms and woodlands, and various critters that inhabit the area.