(This week’s market report comes from Chris Witwer)
In the mid-70’s my grandfather grew watermelons and cantaloupes on his Midwestern farm. When I was tall enough and strong enough to help out in the late summer, we’d go pick those melons, and toss them in the back of his yellow and white striped pick-up truck. Then we’d drive to the town square to sell them to our “neighbors” – if the word neighbor can be used to describe someone who might live 10 miles from you with only a dirt road and a few cows in between.
The best part of melon season was picking our own. We’d all take turns eyeing the most promising melons, tossing them around to see how they felt, and listening carefully as we thumped them with our fingers. The winner was driven back to the farm, placed on an old picnic table somebody had moved into the shade of the apple tree behind the house, and then Dad would make a big deal out of cracking it on the hardest edge of the table. What a beautiful sound. We didn’t slice the melons, just took big ragged chunks of them and dug in. With our faces. Ah yes, those were the days. When you could pick a melon, take it home, crack it open, and enjoy!
Wait! We can still do that! The Seattle Farmers Market Association announces small melons arriving in our local markets this week. And not just any melons, but those varieties developed and perfected right here in the Northwest. Look for melons arriving beginning now, and continuing over the coming weeks, from farms such as Ayala, Alvarez, Magana, Stoney Plains, Alm Hill, Tonnemaker, and more.
Just be sure to “thump” the melons that grow in the ground and not the ones that grow on human people — or you might just get slapped in the face. (Or followed home, we suppose.)
Also available this week, donut peaches! And Boistfort Valley has got artichokes. Stoney Plains has endive and red dandelion greens. And keep your eyes out for all those lovely varieties of green beans, from waxy yellow to to burgundy to hericot vert to roma. I’m already starting to plan my Bella Cosa Market Challenge.
Don’t forget the cooking demonstration as well. This week features Chef Dennis Ruiz, Pequena Havana (pequenahavana.blogspot.com), showing off his culinary skills from 4-5pm.
Satisfy the locavore/foodie within: Wallingford Center Wednesday Farmers Market @ N 45th & Wallingford Ave. N, 3-7 p.m.
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