Summer foods offered at local venues

At the end of every spring semester, I look forward to summer break, but, more importantly, the foods of summer: sun-ripe tomatoes right off the vine, perfectly sweet strawberries and smile-shaped cuts of juicy watermelon from the garden. Here are some ideas for celebrating summer with good food and local spirits.

Starting every Wednesday from May 16 through October, be sure to join in the fun and festivities at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in Bowling Green. Vendors offer a delectable selection of produce, including lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, berries and much more. Fresh flowers, herbs, baked goods and crafts are available too. Not only is the market a great place for supporting local farmers, it has activities, such as live music and face painting, which are great for the whole family.

Looking for other ways to preserve the tradition of local foods? Stop by Happy Badger to RSVP for its Secret Dinner series, a five-course meal that honors seasonal, slow foods and features tasty treats from Zingerman’s Bakery, Calder Dairy and other epicurean establishments. The next secret dinners will be held on May 11 and May 12; seats are still available for both dates, so reserve them now to experience a delicious gourmet event.

Summer festivals offer an array of tasty treats too! Toldeo hosts the Lagrange Street Polish Festival in July, and many surrounding areas, near and far, celebrate their ancestral ties with indigenous food, music and crafts. International festivals are perfect for dates or family fun. Word of mouth, local newspapers and websites, such as, make finding festivals easy.

Every summer I make it a point to have a picnic at the Portage Quarry. There’s nothing like packing a cooler full of cold salads, sandwiches, fresh veggies and dips, and a few cold ones for a day of swimming, tanning and just relaxing. Affordable and close to home, the Quarry is perfect when you want to escape but don’t want to travel too far.

If, however, summer travels are what you’re looking for, head to Watershed Distillery in Columbus, where they offer tours that walk guests through their distillery process from start to finish and end in their tasting room, a perfect place to sip on the perfect summer drink: a gin and tonic. I swear by their gin; it’s the epitome of summer, crisp and refreshingly tart.

With so much to do and so much good food to eat, it’s time to live it up in the summer sun!