It's no secret that vegetables, berries and herbs are at their absolute best when they're freshly harvested right from the garden. Gardeners who own Vitamix machines are especially fortunate, because it provides a number of ways to take those fresh flavors straight from the garden to the table.

Planning Your Garden

If you're new to gardening, take it slowly. It's more work than you might think, so start small and don't plant more than you can handle. Just a few tomato or zucchini plants can bury you in produce once they hit full stride. It's best to start with a few things you'll use regularly. Just a few tomatoes in pots, a planter of mixed lettuces on your patio and some fresh herbs on your windowsill will get you started. As you gain confidence and experience, you can expand into backyard beds and begin growing a wider range of vegetables, berries and fruit.

Add a Bright Burst of Flavor

One of the great things about even a small garden is how good it can make the rest of your food taste. For example, it only takes a few seconds to turn garden tomatoes into fresh salsa in your Vitamix machine. Use it to make your best-ever nachos or as a topping for fish or chicken. Fresh herbs are also a high-impact garden staple. Turn a surplus of basil into pesto or make non-traditional versions of pesto with your other herbs. When your salad greens are flourishing, add fresh, vibrant flavor to dressings with your garden herbs as well.

Fresh, Refreshing Soups

Vegetables fresh from your garden make the very best of soups. One elegant classic is the Provencal "soupe au pistou", which enhances the vegetables' flavors with a last-minute swirl of pesto-like herb paste. As for blender soups, they're not all hot and hearty cold-weather meals. Your Vitamix machine can turn any palate-pleasing combination of garden vegetables into a raw soup – or on the hottest days, a chilled soup – in just moments. The best known of these is gazpacho, but the options are limited only by your imagination. You can even make chilled dessert soups with fruit or berries.

Drink Your Garden

A garden's also the key to making your best smoothies ever. Backyard fruit and berries are always welcome, but garden vegetables are remarkably versatile as well. For example, cucumber makes a surprisingly refreshing addition to a melon smoothie. As for kale and spinach, there's no limit to the ways you can turn them into a nutritious, tasty green smoothie. Once the kids are in bed, you can even turn your favorite smoothies into icy, refreshing, adults-only cocktails.