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The starting gun is that first round of spring field peas, with names like zipper and pink-eye purple hull. I simmer them with Vidalia onion and maybe a piece of side meat, then drizzle them with aioli.

Next come the peaches. I love to line them up across the counter, so many I feel as if I will drown in their juice and pie.5 Then I get pummeled with tomatoes.

Last comes the okra, the real workhorse of a Southern summer. I cut it into matchsticks, toss it with seasoned flour, and flash-fry it. I slice it lengthwise and roast it hot for about 15 minutes with chunks of onions. I skewer and grill it and stir-fry it.

By the time the muscadines are heavy on the vine in late August, I’m exhausted in the best way.

— Kim Severson