Hello, Ada here. What is there to even say about this heat? Its intensity is purely distracting, at best. At its worst, it’s… it’s well, painful. At the farm, the VRDNT crew is starting before sunrise, trying their best to stay hydrated, and taking turns going on vacations to conifer-filled mountains and sandy beaches with pina colada service. Even the bees at VRDNT needed some additional shade.
I recently visited the farm and while gawking at the expansive blanket of gourd ground cover in front of me, Becky told me that they made a bit of a mistake when seeding melons earlier this spring: they accidentally doubled the number of rows they intended to plant. The bees, a new-ish addition to the VRDNT field crew, have been busy pollinating the massive melon patch and the yields are truly impressive. A happy planting mistake, bringing good bowling-ball-shaped fortune to all you CSA Members and market shoppers (and sore backs for the farm crew, I’m sure.) The farm is growing a wide variety of melons this year, all seemingly happy in the farm’s (relatively) cool and moist sandy soil. Each and every time I visit VRDNT and think back to my sun-fried, or weed-ridden garden at home, I’m nearly speechless at the volume and quality of food Becky and the small VRDNT crew can coax from the ground.
What exactly is hidden in the massive melon patch? There are your summer standards - watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, as well as some varieties more unique to VRDNT like melonade melons (similar to a muskmelons or the French Cavaillon melons) which are prized by chefs for their slightly sweet, slightly tart flavor and Christmas melons (aka Santa Clause melons, aka Piel de Sapo melons, aka “toad skin” melons) which are prized by VRDNT staff and are their first choice to bring home. These melons will debut to customers in a few more weeks. My favorite? The slender Korean melons that Becky grows whose flesh is both crunchy and juicy, slightly sweet with an almost floral flavor. Even the bright yellow skin and pale juicy seeds are edible.
This week’s roundup is inspired by all the melons out there. Thanks for your perfectly timed arrival. I was beginning to despair, and then you arrived. Your dull field spots and unassuming rinds hide deep summer joy. Your advent situations me here, in this season of heat and of extremes, and momentarily I stop dreaming of October. Your providential arrangement of atoms in wavy greens and textured beige and oranges and PINKS and yellows is a miracle, and your ability to hydrate my thirsty cells, a benevolent gift. I love you like I love Barton Springs, and if it wasn’t for all the ants and lifeguards marching around, I’d arrange a meeting.
I feel like tomatoes often steal the summer spotlight, and I’ve even referred to them as “summer’s prized jewels”... but right now, this week, I’m here for the melon party.
Melon, condensed milk, and heavy cream.
This version uses honeydew melon, coconut milk, and raw cashews.
Watermelon Granita You need a little patience to make a granita, but when it’s to hot to go outside, you might as well be lingering in the freezer breeze.
Cubed Korean melon (or underripe honeydew) gets tossed with fragrant Korean spices, sesame oil, lemon juice, and shiso.
“Sweet, tart, crunchy, and a touch of spiciness—the perfect side dish or a light entree.”
Cold, cold, delicious.
In case you’re looking to turn your melon into a more savory situation, pair it with sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a simple dressing.
Agua De Melon (Melon Water) “Aguas Frescas origin started with the drinks that were sold in the pre-Hispanic tianguis (Mexican markets) and still to the day, every mercado in Mexico has at least one agua stand.”
Non-Alcoholic Melon Martini Made this. Will make again. (Please note, this is less of a recipe, and more of a TikTok link.) Basically, a melon fresca, add olive oil.
I first had this salad around 10 years ago when I was living in Israel. My first bite of fried halloumi and melon is one I’ll never forget. A friend named Matan put it all together.
Pickled Watermelon Rinds I made this Alton Brown recipe years ago, and it’s the one I return to again and again.
Enjoy it fresh with tequila, mezcal, gin, or vodka. Or, zhush it up with a sugar, salt, or Tajin rim and a splash of lime juice for a mouth-watering mocktail.
“The classic sweet and salty combination of cantaloupe and prosciutto will never go out of style.”
Tajin Watermelon Queso Fresco Salad Straight from the Tajin website, so you know it’s good.
Watermelon, mint, and vodka if you please. It’s time to invest in a popsicle mold.
The wide world of melon carving and melons-as-bowls as always enchanted me and it took some serious restraint not to fill this whole post with beautiful melon carvings. For probably 10 or so years, my friend Anne and I randomly text eachother photos of melon carvings, and I can’t think of a better way to connect. Should you need more carving inspiration, here is a truly inspiring collection of melons as things.