Melons Maneuver the Frost

For the past few weeks we have been waiting for the new melons to ripen. This year I tried a new variety of cantaloupe from the infamous and celebrated Maine seed coop FEDCO, with great hopes for success. Those of you who have been CSA members for many years are asking yourselves “have we ever had cantaloupe from Crystal Spring?” and the answer is yes, but not often. We have tried to grow good crops of these sweet perfumed melons many times but with little success (2005 was a good crop). The short season and cool nights that come this time of year make ripening this fruit difficult. Because of the challenge and varied success I am always trying new varieties in hopes of finding one that will come to a sweet finish in the waning days of summer. Several weeks ago the crew and I started looking at the vines of this crop with doubt. The fruit was dark green and smooth like some sort of odd shaped pumpkin. My pessimism took over and I was ready to give in to another year of cantaloupe defeat. I chalked it up to some mix up at the seed house and then three weeks ago things started to change. The fruit went from deep green to a perfectly netted tan melon almost overnight; there was hope. Cantaloupe must be watched carefully as the window between the stages of green, ripe and rotten is short. When they’re ready, the fruits change from buff tan to slightly yellow and the vines separate from the melon with just the slightest tug. Last Friday they were so close I could smell success and then Saturday night came. Those of you who slept in on Sunday might not have noticed but we had our first frost of the year. It was spotty and light but burned many of the tender plants in fields, including the melon vines. I was sure the fruit would be hurt as well. We went down to take alook this morning and there they were, hundreds of perfect, ripe cantaloupes, untouched and ready to pick. They taste great, even better with the drama it to get them.

CSA Potluck October 4 from 12-2. Mark your calendars for our annual potluck. Kick back and enjoy your neighbor’s cooking and some good conversation. We’ll supply a massive salad and the best apple cider you have ever tasted. This year we also have a local music. Come early and leave late.

Potato Alert Continues! Please refrigerate the spuds if you are not going to eat them in the first day or two. The late blight continues to cast its shadow upon us; to beat it we must eat.

CSA sign-up for 2010 underway. Help us get a strong start for the coming season. Your shares, promised now, help us pay for early seed orders and supplies that are always cheaper if paid for before the end of the current calendar year. Besides, just imagine how great those tomatoes will taste next August. Sign up now with a deposit and get on the easy winter payment plan. A $100 deposit will hold your share with payments not due until February, April and June of next year.

Organic/low spray apples, pears and cider for sale this week from our friends at Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus. More organic Red Free apples and low-spray Macs are available this week along with Clapp’s Favorite pears. Available for sale singly and in 5lb. bags. Cider is available in half gallon jugs and is so good I would shower in it. Everyday. For weeks on end.

Crystal Spring whole and half lambs. Just a few left from this year’s crop. Delivery in late November or early December. See us at pick-up for all the details.

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