Want to know what’s growing now? Let’s take it one month at a time, with TIME‘s Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year.
August is one of the best months for produce, according to Chris Romano, an associate produce coordinator at Whole Foods. “In summer there are a lot of good choices out there,” he says. Based on where you live in the U.S., your produce offerings can vary, but in August there are several fruits and veggies that are in-season and tasty nationwide.
Pluots: Summer is the season for stone fruit like plums, peaches cherries and pluots—which look like deep red or nearly forest green plums—are especially flavorful this month. “August is by far their peak,” says Romano. “They really sharpen in flavor and are very dramatic in color.”
Tomatoes: These need long, hot days to really develop in flavor, Romano says. “Heirlooms have gotten so popular in the last few years,” he says. To find the perfect tomato, our friends at Cooking Light recommend looking for one with bright, shiny, firm skin that has a little give when gently squeezed.
Grapes: Grapes need a many hours of sun and heat to develop their flavors, and they concentrate all their sugars in August, says Romano. “We will see all sorts of varieties from champagne to cotton-candy grapes.” A good way to select grapes is to pay attention to the color of the stem. If the stems are brittle it means they likely won’t last very long once you bring them home. Grapes with a flexible green stem are a good bet.
Melons: Though you can get a decent melon in the fall or even winter, summer is really their peak. “Whether it’s a melon with a white, deep orange, or a salmon flesh, there’s nothing better,” says Romano. To pick a good melon, look for symmetry, a heavy weight, and no bruising.
Okra: August is a good month to keep an eye out for okra. Look for small green pods and steer clear of bruising. In the United States, okra has become a Southern cuisine staple, but people living in other U.S. regions can enjoy it too. When okra is overcooked it can have a slimy texture, so be sure to look up a couple recipes before diving in.