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Dining In: Plenty of vegetables are still in season

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Unofficially, summer ended with the arrival of Labor Day and a return to the busy days and nights of September.

But so what if the kids are back in school, the beach seems far away, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler? The flavors of summer are still here.

These are the final days for local peaches this season, but plenty of corn and tomatoes are available at local farms and farm stands. This is the time of year when farm stands are at their most colorful; you find red and green peppers, collard greens, beans, yellow squash and zucchini piled up next to cool-weather squashes, leeks, broccoli, and lettuces.

The berry season may be behind us, but there are pears and apples, and the melon season continues for a few more weeks.

This is the time of year when we are in search of easy ideas for weeknight dinners, when there never seems to be quite enough time. Local vegetables are great in soups with broccoli, cauliflower, squash, potatoes and corn all are favorites that don’t take a lot of time but pair well with a nice loaf of bread for an easy meal.

Corn on the cob is just as good in September as it was in August, and a simple meal of corn, sliced tomatoes and burgers on the grill (meat or vegetarian) is just as satisfying.

Stuffed peppers are another homespun meal that takes advantage of what’s in season; you also can stuff eggplant or zucchini, fresh from the farm.

A trip to any the popular local farm stands and markets quickly generates a variety of ideas so that we don’t have to give up on summer just yet. It’s still here if we want it to be, at least on our plates.

This recipe from delish.com is a great way to use corn cut fresh from the cob or frozen.

Corn Chowder
6 slices bacon, cut into small strips
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound russet potatoes cut into small cubes
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
3 cups corn
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup white Cheddar
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish

1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but one tablespoon fat and cook the onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

2. When potatoes are tender, whisk flour into milk and stir into pot. Add corn, cream, cheese and bacon and bring soup back to a boil, cooking until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.

3. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with chives and serve.

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