Eggplants from the farmers’ market are often much sweeter than supermarket varieties. Look for firm eggplants that are heavy for their size, with tight, smooth and shiny skin and bright-green stems.
There are loads of heirloom pepper varieties, ranging from mild and sweet to fiery hot, that never make it to supermarkets. The freshest are weighty with sturdy, green stems; avoid any peppers that rattle.
Corn is best eaten within a day or so of harvest because its sugars begin turning starchy soon after it’s picked. Look for ears with husks that are bright green, moist and tight.
When choosing summer squash, like zucchini, look for ones that are firm, heavy and free of nicks. At farmers’ markets, you can often find squash so fresh that they still have their flowers attached.
Deeply flavored heirloom tomatoes, which come in many shapes and colors, are often too delicate to ship long distance, but they are available at farmers’ markets. Tomatoes should be heavy and barely yield to touch.