It's August and the local growing season is reaching its peak. To me that means picking my own peaches. My local fave is Weaver's Orchard. They've got a produce market, fresh baked pies and acres of peaches, berries and cherries ready to be plucked. For more local pick-your-own adventures, go to pickyourown.org.
On the dining scene, restaurants are rolling out late-summer menu specials. On Sundays throughout August Tria (123 S. 18th St. 215.972.8742) will dedicate its "Sunday School" cheese offering to local cheeses. The special menu offers one wine, one beer and one cheese at prices that are half-off or more.
Gayle (617 S. Third St. 215.922.3850) in Queen Village pulls us through the midweek bump with Hard Shell Wednesdays, where $35 gets you a plate of hard shell crabs with cole slaw, fries and a house salad. Enjoy the tasty crustaceans in the restaurant's cozy outdoor courtyard. Reservations are recommended.
"Lobster is one of the most quintessential summertime treats," says London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave., 215.978.4545) co-owner Terry Berch McNally. Her Fairmount restaurant offers five affordable fresh lobster specials throughout the month. Sit in the sun and enjoy a New England lobster roll or strap on a bib and tear into a whole lobster dinner.
On Aug. 24 spend a summer Sunday at Rineer Family Farms with a tour and a picnic featuring ingredients from Rineer's 110 acres of preserved land. Daryl Rineer says his grass-fed cows are happy cows and that "you'll be able to taste the difference yourself" when you try some of the farm's Black Angus beef burgers at the picnic. The $25 ticket price includes the tour, picnic and a donation to Fair Food. If interested, holler at Catherine Down at Fair Food: 215.386.5211, ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for sport and food beyond Citizen's Park? Kick on the air conditioning, order takeout and tune in to Food Network on Sunday, Aug., 17, to watch Philadelphia chef Jose Garces compete against Bobby Flay as the city's first competitor on Iron Chef America. For one week after the episode airs, each of Garces' restaurants--Amada, Tinto and spanking new Distrito--will offer a special Iron Chef Menu comprised of the dishes that he created for the competition.
At home or down on the farm, raise a glass and give a toast to the end-of-summer flavors. Or if you got carried away with the peach picking like I did, invite some friends over and tell them to roll up their sleeves and get canning. That's my jam.