With all of our certified farmers’ markets open as regularly scheduled over the Fourth of July weekend, farmers are well stocked with an array of some of our favorite holiday summer eats.
There are tree-ripened, free-stone peaches and deliciously refreshing, seedless watermelons. And yes, some farmers are just starting to harvest the first sweet corn of the season. Locally raised meats, dessert pies, freshly dug potatoes and green beans will be on hand to tie your spread together.
One of my favorite certified organic farmers, Pearl Munak, is always stocked with some premier melons just in time for the Fourth.
As she made her first market appearance of the season this past weekend, I made sure to swing by and check on the selection. Her recommended to-pick this week was this Paso Robles-grown “Supreme” cantaloupe.
Once sliced open, the aromatic melon’s juiciness did not go unnoticed, with a simmering deep orange color flesh within.
It’s incredibly sweet, and it didn’t take long for my family to absolutely devour the entire specimen, discarding the seeds and skin into the compost, or course.
Fresh melons really tend to hit the spot on a warm afternoon, particularly when pulled out of the refrigerator.
I also like to occasionally add melons to my salads, pairing well with most fresh greens, and any summer fixings you prefer. Feta cheese also really does wonders to complete the meal.
This week I prepared a “Supreme” Cantaloupe Kale Salad.
“Supreme” Cantaloupe Kale Salad
1 bunch kale, thick stems discarded, greens rinsed and dried
1 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
juice from one lemon (use Meyer if available)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium cucumber, sliced (peeled if desired)
1/2 “Supreme” Cantaloupe melon, skins and seeds discarded, cut into half-inch cubes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
6-7 large Italian basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Chop your kale into very small pieces. Place in a large bowl with carrot and onion.
In a small mixing bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic and rice vinegar’s as well as the Dijon. Mix well until incorporated.
Toss kale mixture with 1/2 of your dressing, tossing aggressively to fully coat the ingredients. I often use my hand to massage the dressing into the kale to help tenderize.
Then add remaining ingredients and toss in additional dressing to taste.
Yield: Serves 2 full or 4 smaller salads.