Organic rocky sweet melon
These melons are smaller than your average cantaloupe, and instead of the more common orange flesh, they present a lime green hue, once sliced.
Delivering a flavor somewhere between a cantaloupe and a honeydew melon, Rocky Sweet melons are mildly sweet, very juicy,and incredibly refreshing.
This week I prepared a chilled Rocky Sweet Melon and cucumber soup for the Fix of the Week elsewhere on this page.
Rocky Sweet melons are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, iron and calcium.
These melons are a nice addition to smoothies and can be blended to make an array of cocktails, such as unique margaritas or daiquiris.
Grown, harvested and sold by Munak Ranch of Paso Robles, they can be found at the Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market weekly. Certified organic, they sell for a price averaging $5 each.
Almost perfectly round and reaching the size of a baseball at full maturity, lemon cucumbers have attractive alternating bands of cream and pale yellow across the skin. Inside, the flesh is cream-colored and has a central seed pocket.
They deliver a nice subtly sweet flavor with a balance of soft yet firm textured flesh. When these cucumbers reach full maturity, most people tend to peel away the relatively thick skin before enjoying them. But I most commonly dice them up as they come and use them as the base of a Greek-style salad, or I enjoy them as I would an apple, right out of hand.
You can find lemon cucumbers at most weekly Santa Barbara certified farmers’ markets as the season progresses from several local farmers. Price averages $3 per pound.
Black mission figs
The first round of fresh figs is hitting local farmers markets, with Avila and Sons Farm leading the pack with about six different varieties on hand at the Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real, Tuesday Santa Barbara, and Wednesday Solvang farmers’ markets.
My overall favorite, year in and year out, are these dark purple skin and red fleshed black mission figs, yielding an incredibly sweet and dynamic flavor. Eat them as they come, add them to a salad, or grill them.
I also really like them stuffed with chèvre, Fat Uncle Farm blistered almond and chopped basil, finished with a little olive oil and aged balsamic. Available from several local producers, they sell for a price averaging $7 per basket.