Week Six: Cool as a Cucumber Melon

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend filled with fresh food, friends, family, fireworks, and sunshine– we certainly did! Yesterday, the Crossroads Farmers Market participated in the City of Takoma Park’s 121st annual 4th of July parade. With the help of an amazing team, we cruised the streets of Takoma in style, perched atop a flat bed pick-up truck carrying a tractor, a manure spreader, and a group of cheering kids carrying hand-painted fruit and vegetable signs. The Jazzy Juggler, a local favorite, also brought his antics to our float, revving up the crowd as he successfully juggled a tomato, a cantaloupe, and a large butcher’s knife! Such a great morning of community, celebration, and laughter was a prize of its own– but it was made all the more exciting when we learned this morning that the Crossroads Farmers Market float placed second in the Wacky Tacky Takoma category! Huge thanks to all who participated and to all who cheered and waved along the way.

The celebration will continue at market this Wednesday. After all, with the forecast hinting at triple digits, what’s there to do but celebrate summer at its fullest?! All of our vendors will be there this week, ready to supply you with a mid-week pick-me-up. Early July is an interesting time for local produce; the cooler weather plants are starting to fade out, while the heat-loving blooms are just getting ready to burst through. So while tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other summer favorites are just around the corner, take this opportunity to try out something new– you might be very pleasantly surprised!

My top picks for the week:

  • Peaches and apricots! Need I say more? Also, check out this great guide to peaches from Three Springs Fruit Farm. They explain the differences between different varieties and offer some great tips for selection and storage.
  • Black raspberries– Nope, they’re not blackberries. But they’re equally wonderful. Smaller and a bit sweeter than their notoriously tart cousins, these have me hooked. Delicious on their own, and perfect for the fruit crisp I’ll be making this weekend!
  • Red and golden beets– Full of magnificent flavor and color, beets are one of my favorite additions to a summer salad. Roast them, shave them raw, or check out one of these great recipes. And don’t forget about the greens! Cook them as you would chard or kale, and enjoy!
  • Sugar snap peas– these have quickly become my snack of choice, and I’m stocking up before their season ends– don’t miss out! True to their name, these are perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth and provide a crisp, fantastically refreshing crunch. Eaten whole or shelled, raw or boiled, on their own or in stir-fries or pasta, snap peas are the perfect way to add both sweetness and green to a meal.
  • Fresh herbs- While one of the great joys of eating fresh foods is that their natural flavors are so distinct and vibrant, a touch of complimenting basil, thyme, sage, cilantro, dill, or parsley can draw out subtle undertones and transform the simplest meal into a culinary celebration. I can say honestly that not only are the herbs I’ve had at Crossroads among the freshest I’ve found at other area markets, but they are far and away the least expensive!

Special Events: Summer Concert Series and Volunteer Opportunity
Our good friend Yousef will be back with Conga drumming this Wednesday. Grab your hand drum or something to bang on and come join in!

Help get the word out about the Crossroads Farmers Market! Join us next Wednesday, July 14th, to flier Crossroads area neighborhoods and businesses and potential shoppers know we’re here. We’ll meet at 10am in front of 7676 New Hampshire Avenue, and will reconvene at noon for treats from Chapina Bakery.

As always, your thoughts and feedback are always welcome– please don’t hesitate to let us know what’s working, what we could improve upon, and what else you’d like to see.

See you Wednesday, 3-7 pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue! And make sure you stop by Three Springs to check out their cucumber melons. That combination of cool and refreshing sounds about perfect right now, doesn’t it?

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