Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 12 -- Melons

Roots Farm CSA Week 12: July 19 & 22

This Week:
-Corn: Spring Treat!
-Beans: Blue Coco, Red Noodle
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian
-Garlic: Sicillan Silver, Georgian Crystal
-Cucumbers: Lemon
-Okra: Burgundy & Clemson Spineless
-Melons: Diplomat, Sun Jewel, Hannah’s Choice, Jenny Lind, Eden’s Gem, Edisto 47
-Watermelons: New Orchid, Sorbet Swirl, Sugar Baby
-Tomatoes!: SunGold Cherry, Juliet Roma, various hybrids
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long

On the Farm . . .
The July heat has us hiding in the basement these days, sorting garlic and cleaning house, doing research and painting our new bathroom because it’s HOT out beyond 11am. Yikes! It’s hard to get all our outdoor chores done before the heat drives us inside, but we’re doing what we can, planting arugula every week, weeding, and picking veggies. And, we’re gearing up for our Fall planting, which starts in just a few weeks. Goodness gracious.

Corn! (aka, salvage the good stuff)
Our first corn of the season is arriving this week. Usually we have corn in June, but our first seeding had poor germination and we had to till it all back under and start over. Unfortunately, I think the variety that I chose “Spring Treat” is more geared towards a cooler growing time and didn’t grow very tall before it was triggered to set fruit. That’s my theory, at least. The plants were really small, smaller than they usually are, and they set small ears. Small, delicious ears. Small, delicious ears that are also laden with our buddies the corn earworms and their friends, the small black beetles. My advice is to salvage what you can by cutting away the pest-y spots or just by cutting off all the good kernels and making a treat other than corn on the cob. Corn quickly begins to lose sweetness and get starchy after it’s picked, so I recommend eating it sooner than later for maximum sweetness. This first round of corn is bringing us the lesson of “Let go of the bad stuff and focus on what’s good.” Enjoy. We’ve got a second planting of a different variety still in the growing stage that will be coming along later. Fingers crossed for better ears next time.

In Your Basket . . .
The eggplant is finally coming on stronger. You’ll find a healthy portion of it appearing in your baskets this week. Tomatoes are trickling in still and our outdoor planting look hopeful for a larger harvest in the future, same as the okra. Kale and cucumbers are on their way out. And melons, melons are in abundance.

Beaverdam SlowDown Dinner
We’re still accepting reservations for our next SlowDown dinners, Saturday July 30 & Sunday July 31. Reserve your seat TODAY for an amazing, 5 course vegetarian feast, brought to you by Roots! We’ll be bringing in a guest chef to do the cooking, using mostly produce grown right here on the farm. And we’ll set up nice, long tables under the starlight with candles and white tablecloths and everything! It should be a really delightful evening, so don’t miss your chance to dine with us at this extraordinary farm-to-table event. Email Chris at to make your reservations.

Our spotlight this week on on melons. And man, do we have a lot of them. Cantaloupes, muskmelons, Asian melons, watermelons, wow! If your melon seems a bit short of ripe, keep it at room temperature for a few days or until there is a sweet smell coming from the stem end. One the melon ripens, store it in the refrigerator and eat it within a week. (Watermelons do not ripen off the vine and do not emanate a ripe smell). Eat them soon because they don’t hold very well for long. Just in case you wanna eat them some way other than sliced, here are some recipes for you . . .

Avocado and Cantaloupe Salad with Creamy French Dressing
6 cups baby arugula leaves
1/4 cantaloupe - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and cubed
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Place the arugula leaves into a salad bowl, and sprinkle with the cantaloupe and avocado pieces. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, paprika, salt, mustard, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper together. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while whisking rapidly until the salad dressing is thick and creamy. Lightly dress the salad and then sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve. Makes 4 servings. Cook's note: you could shorten the prep time by using bottled French Dressing. Baby spinach could be substituted for the arugula, but other greens take away from the subtle flavors and creamy textures of the avocado and cantaloupe. Enjoy! From

Cantaloupe & Tomato Salad
1/2 small cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch pieces (~ 1 cup)
2 small tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (~1 cup)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, diced (~ 1 cup)
1 large rib celery, diced (~ 3/4 cup)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (plus garnish)
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumber, and celery in a large salad bowl. Whisk the yogurt, mint, sherry vinegar, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the melon salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste; garnish with mint leaves. Makes 4 servings. (from Farmer John’s Cook book)

Spicy Watermelon Salad
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground red pepper, or to taste
6 cups watermelon, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley

Stir chili powder, salt, and ground red pepper together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, toss the watermelon, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and cilantro or parsley together. Sprinkle the tossed veggies with the spice mixture and combine well. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings. From The Joy of Cooking.

Ginger Melon Sorbet
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes (~ 4 cups)
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (~ 1/2 lemon)
fresh mint leaves (optional)

Combine the melon, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and puree just until smooth. Add the ginger and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a tray or zip-top bag and freeze it on a flat surface in your freezer. Remove the frozen mixture from the freezer and let it thaw out, then return it to the blender or food processor and process again until smooth. Repeat this process at least once more (two times total does the trick) or until the mixture is very smooth and blended with no separation. Spoon into individual glasses or serving dishes and garnish with mint leaves. Makes 4 servings. This is the perfect celebration of the cantaloupe—sweet and gingery, wholly refreshing, and a great palate cleanser after a heavy meal. Don’t skip the ginger; it makes this recipe shine! (from Farmer John’s Cookbook)

Tropical Melon Soup with Coconut Milk
3 lbs melon
1 can coconut milk (15 oz)
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
1 hot pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp chopped Thai basil
1 Tbsp chopped mint
1/4 tsp sea salt
small basil or mint leaves for garnish

Halve the melon, scoop out the seeds, and cut into 3-inch sections. Set 1 section aside. Slice the skin away from the flesh and puree the flesh. Add the rest of the ingredients to the melon puree. Dice the reserved section into small pieces and ad them to the soup. Chill well. Serve garnished with little sprigs of the basil or mint leaves. Makes 4-6 servings. (from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison) Taste test approved by the Roots Farmers!

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