It's the Sweetest Time of Year at the Markets

Submitted 5 months ago
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They've been ripening for weeks: drinking up the rain, soaking up the sun, expanding, ripening.... And now, suddenly, they're here. Watermelons, cantaloupes, Crenshaws, Athenas, Canarys.... 

Over the last few days, local farms like South Royalton's Hurricane Flats and Luna Bleu have been letting their customers know that it's time to stock up. Melon season in the Upper Valley is short, intense -- and exquisitely perfumed. 

Melons are the quintessential eat-them-while-you-can produce. Corn and other vegetables you can freeze, can, or pickle. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and the other fleeting symbols of summer's generosity you can freeze or turn into jam. Melons? Well, you could pickle them, and a lot of perfectly reasonable people think that's a fine and honorable thing to do. But really, is that their highest and best use? Didn't think so.

And if you don't tend to buy them from a farm-stand or at a farmer's market, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. You'll get achingly sweet smells and a tenderness that are hard to find in melons shipped from away with not even a hint of ripeness. Give it a day or two, then if you're not serving it right away, slice the flesh into chunks, put them in a covered container in the fridge... and then dare yourself to make them last more than a day. Bet you can't.

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