Watermelon is in the share this week and by the skin of our teeth. This heat loving crop is always a waiting game. We wait until the first warm week of June to set these plants out and then they start the process of gathering the long daylight hours and July heat to coalesce water and soil into this sweet goodness. Knowing when the growing process has finished and the sugars are right is a bit of trial and error, and for the past couple weeks we have been looking and sampling to find that right time. Everyone has there own ways of knowing when a melon is ready but we look for two signs. First is the spot on the underside of the fruit where the melon has been resting on the ground. For the past month this spot has been light yellow and when its ready to go the yellow turns slightly orange. The second sign is the bonk. Taking your thumb and striking with the bony side of of the joint the melon should feel almost like a drum. The rap on its side resonates in the fruit and makes the whole thing vibrate in your hand (this takes a bit of practice).
When we harvest watermelon we harvest is all at once. This is unlike most of our other fruiting crops (tomatoes included) that are picked one by one over weeks and weeks. When this crop is ready, it is all ready at the same time. When this day arrives we head down to the field with huge 20 bushel wooden bins that fit on the tractor’s pallet forks and we clear the beds. When we come away with a good looking crop it is always a glorious thing to see a four foot by four foot crate of melon coming up the road. This year this triumph was all the more sweet as all of us were not the only ones waiting for the watermelon. The crows that live well on this farm have also been waiting and testing this crop over the past weeks, pecking holes in countless numbers of these fruits trying to find just the right one (I should teach them the bonk technique as it might help save more melons). In years past we have lost all of our melons to these birds that are too smart for their small heads. This year the contest goes to the farmers. Next year, your guess is as good as mine.
We still have a couple pigs left to preorder for your freezer. There’s nothing like chops, hams and bacon, glorious bacon to brave the cold winter months. Talk to us a pick-up for all the details.
What’s in the share this week…