This is one of those times when I wish our photos had that “scratch and sniff” feature. The luscious smell filling my kitchen as I unloaded a cloth bag of fresh produce was enough to make my mouth water.
It was a particularly abundant night at the farmers’ market, and I had made my way home with a garden cantaloupe, red, ripe tomatoes, fresh-cut green beans, red and yellow onions and sweet corn so perfect I had to beat our chickens away with a stick as I carried the bag in from the car.
Most years, our own garden produces more than enough for the two of us, but I think a lot of gardeners can use some extra help in this year of the Great Drought. I’m afraid that when they talk about hot and dry this year, they’re not just talking about peri-menopausal women — it’s hot and dry everywhere and taking a heavy toll on area gardens.
But the good folks at the Boone Farmers’ Market are apparently on the irrigation plan, as the produce is full and lush, and much of it is in its prime right now.
In my own garden, I seldom have good luck with melons of any kind, but the cantaloupe I purchased was the color of orange marigolds inside, tender and sweet with just the right firmness still in the flesh.
We devoured the tomatoes almost instantly, as they were just as the peak of ripeness. I could have made a quick tomato and onion salad, but they were just perfect left raw and unembellished.
As for the sweet corn, the ears were filled out beautifully, which isn’t happening in many fields this season. The kernels were so young and tender that I ate mine without butter and didn’t miss it at all. My husband isn’t really interested in calories and loaded on the butter, but I was very happy just tasting the fresh corn.
As for the green beans, I plan to freeze most of them and throw them in stir-fry throughout the winter. There’s nothing like preserving a bit of summer freshness to add a little sunlight to the cold winter days ahead.Boone Farmers’ Market
Thursdays, 3 – 6 p.m.
Corner of Sixth and Story streets