It wasn’t that long ago that the only option for getting a melon in the summer was to buy one grown in Eastern Washington, or, more likely, from Texas, Florida or California. However, this season (and over the last several seasons) you can find locally grown melons at your Jefferson County Farmers Markets. At market today, Saturday and Sunday look for several varieties of cantaloupe as well as red and white-fleshed watermelons.
How is it possible, you might ask, that melons can grow in our maritime northwest climate? I asked Farmer Max Lindert ofOnatrue Farm for his secrets. First, seed breeders in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and even Minnesota have been working hard to breed short-season melons that have a chance to ripen in our climate. These melons share the commonality of their small size. Many of these melons also have tender skin or break more easily than their out-of-state sisters. This means that they are not suitable for shipping and can only be found locally.
But a successful melon harvest takes more than just seed. Max grows his melons under Reemay (row cover) and with a thick layer of mulch for extra protection and warmth. He has also chosen the warmest part of his land for his melon patch. Of course, the temperature varies across our county and not all farmers use the same techniques to grow melons. However they are grown, intention and care are essential for tasty Jefferson County melons.
Have you tried a locally grown melon recently? Because they are picked ripe they are super juicy and sweet, each with their own complex flavor. Several of our market farmers have melons. Look for watermelons and cantaloupes at Onatrue, Serendipity, Red Dog and Midori Farm booths.
Local melon varieties have some great names. Here are a few of my favorites: Cream of Saskatoon from Canada, Black Tail Mountain Watermelons from Montana, and Minnesota Midget. Try one of these treasures today. Better yet, grab a few while at market. They are so delicious it is easy to finish a whole melon in one sitting.
Today and Sunday our own Amy Goetz is hosting POP Club at the Port Townsend Wednesday and Chimacum Farmers Markets. Visit the yellow tent to find out what's new with POP Club. POP Club registration is still open for kids five to 12 years old. Register today and get $2 for fresh produce every time you come to the Port Townsend Wednesday and Chimacum Farmers Markets to participate in POP Club.
Wow, What Flowers!
In addition to fresh produce, meat, cheese, and artisan food, flowers are in full glory at our farmers markets. This season we were joined by a handful of new flower farmers as well as returning farmers. Dahlias, gladiolas, zinnias, sunflowers and many others radiate from our farm booths. Today, at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market find sunflowers from Midori Farm. On Saturday, Green Gables Garden is back at the market. Also, find flowers from Willow Wind Farm, Amie's Garden, Serendipity Farm and, new this season to the Saturday Farmers Market, Diamond Day Bouquet. On Sunday, visit Sweet Seed Flower Farm and Dietrich Farms for fresh flowers at the Chimacum Farmers Market.
- Today, Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market, Haines Place Park and Ride, 2-6pm
- 2:30-4:30pm POP Club with Amy Goetz
- Saturday, September 8th Port Townsend Farmers Market, 9-2pm, Tyler Street
- 10am-11:45pm Live music by the Free Rangers
- 12-1:45pm Live music by Jack Reid
- Sunday, September 9th, Chimacum Farmers Market, Chimacum Corner Farmstand, 10am-2pm
- 10:30am-12:30pm POP Club with Amy Goetz
- Wednesday, September 26, Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market Closing Day, Haines Place Park and Ride, 2-6pm
See you at the Market! Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. ~ Amanda