The thermometer almost made it to 100 today. Officially, it may be four weeks to the calendar’s start of summer, but in the Catskills it is already here. Over the next few months, I’ll be posting blogs on summer dishes. And this summer, I want to emphasize two favorites: peaches and watermelons.

Have you given up on peaches? I really had. Nectarines are much easier to deal with. Peaches can be physically rock hard when you buy them, soften on the drive home, and rot before you can use them the next day. It’s not pleasant. I’m determined this summer to learn how to pick, conserve, and use peaches. So from peach chunks in sangria to peach slices lustily covered in sugar in pies, you’ll read about peaches.

Now watermelon is just the opposite. There is little problem buying one and keeping it ready to use, but it’s that “using” part that will be our focus. Watermelon is underused. Most of us just buy it, slice it, and eat it. But there’s plenty more to do with watermelon, and you’ll see recipes that make the most of this summer wonder.

Keep reading for peach and watermelon ideas. And don’t hesitate to stop at your local farm stand or farmer’s market. Fresh is best.

Happy summer,