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Savor the summer garden bounty

Large red tomatoes, small orange tomatoes, and garlic on a wooden serving board on a table

Kids may be back at school, but summer is not over yet! Vegetable gardens are at peak harvest in King County.

Kids may be back at school, and fall seasonal items are returning to store shelves everywhere, but summer is not over yet! Summer officially continues through Wednesday, September 22. Our temperatures are still pretty warm, and vegetable gardens and local farms are at peak harvest. To celebrate this abundance and the rewards of chemical-free natural yard care, we are sharing a quick and healthy recipe to provide ideas for what to do with the beautiful basil and delicious tomatoes ripening in gardens throughout King County this month. Also, the leftovers pack nicely in a lunchbox. 

If you have a gardening question, the Garden Hotline is a free service for King County residents. From plant selection to non-toxic pest control, and soil care, the Garden Hotline staff are the experts, and they are happy to discuss your questions. Visit or call 206-633-0224

Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes 

1 lb of dried pasta (choose your favorite shape) 

1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half 

For the basil pesto:

¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional) 

3 large cloves of garlic 

¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste) 

1 large bunch of basil (about 4 cups of leaves) 

A small handful (about ½ cup) of spinach leaves (optional) 

1 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 


  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. To make the pesto, place the nuts, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for about 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves and spinach. Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube with the processor running and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Note that spinach is optional; it helps keep the pesto a vibrant green color. Taste and adjust salt to preference.
  3. When the pasta is done cooking, toss with enough pesto to coat the noodles. Next, toss with cherry tomatoes.
  4. Enjoy warm or cold. Add a protein of choice to make a complete meal.    

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