Yes, It’s Summer.

Cicadas – check.

More people in the pool than in the entire rest of the gym – check.

Watermelons all over the place – very check.

Last weekend I went to a regional Farmers’ Market with Dorothy Grant. We went to do research on “how people move through a crowded market” and to get tomatoes. That’s it, tomatoes. Really. And maybe to check out gluten-free breads, for a mutual friend who needs that kind of information. And perhaps get some farm-raised eggs. But that’s it.

My paw to Bast, it looked as if everyone leaving the market had a watermelon! Watermelons in wagons, carried in arms, filling cloth or net shopping backs, watermelons carried on shoulders . . . Just inside the entry area, a local charity was selling slices of watermelon, and a self-taught gent demonstrated fancy food carving. Dorothy and I both dropped something into the kitty, in part because we enjoyed the man’s work so much, and in part because the group provides a needed service.

Lots of vendors had watermelons, tomatoes, beautiful bell peppers and chili peppers, squash, and so on. You know, the things that are seasonal and ready right now. All the egg vendors had sold out already. I ended up getting mesquite-smoked cashews (they are addictive!) and Dorothy and I tried two different products from a gluten-free baker and caterer. Those lasted until Tuesday, if only because we had really large breakfasts and suppers that weekend and just couldn’t find room for nibbles. You could get everything from breads to dairy to fresh produce to pottery, popcorn, and candy. Food trucks sold coffee and snow-cone-type things. People threaded their way through, smiling and being normal people on a warm summer morning.

I was mildly surprised that we didn’t get stopped for not having a watermelon as we departed. 🙂

(For my readers who are not familiar with watermelons in summer, you do a thump test. You want a nice, meaty thump. Really good, sweet watermelons are messy, so plan to cut them outdoors, or on something indoors to catch the drips. The red heart is the best part, and my great-grandmother on the paternal side used to go around the table trimming the heart out of other people’s melon servings “since she didn’t want a whole slice.” Some things were not worth arguing over. Kids and watermelon are a natural combo. Have the kids put on bathing suits, go outdoors, and enjoy the watermelon. Then hose off the kids. It’s a lot easier to keep the house clean that way, trust me. 🙂 )

15 thoughts on “Yes, It’s Summer.

  1. The presence of so many watermelons also slowed traffic and emphasized flow patterns. You could observe how people move through crowds, and how groups and crowds move of themselves. Ahem. Book research, of course. Surely not an excuse to sample some nibbles. 🙂

  2. No idea if farmers’ markets would be a good source for gluten-free products, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the Trader Joe’s GF bagels. In the Pac NW, Franz sells gluten free bread at a serious premium ($7.50 for a 1 pound loaf, or about $6.50 for 4 bagels), but it is imperative to a) look for mold before you buy, b) afterwards, open the sealed package and lightly rebake the bread to remove excess moisture. I unpack their bagels and preslice before freezing them. Seems Franz is unwilling to use preservatives, but the bound-in moisture will cause trouble.

    On the other hand, if you have the equipment (a Kitchen-aid stand mixer is close to essential) and access to the ingredients, the Bette Hagman bread books make a great loaf. $SPOUSE does a rice bread (part brown rice milled in the Kitchen-aid) that’s tasty and doesn’t have the mold issues. Silicone bread pans are A Really Good Idea. The bread laughs at Wilton non-stick pans before terminally attaching itself. We do two batches; takes maybe 1.5 hours to get from “let’s start” to “let’s bake”. Exotic ingredients include xanthan gum, potato starch and tapioca starch. The xanthan gum comes from Bob’s Red Mill in Oregon, and I believe they also do the starches. We bought large bags of the starches from the restaurant supply, though they’ve been acquired by US Foods. If absolutely necessary, it’s possible to order directly from Bob’s.

    Bob’s sells a GF baking flour mix that includes garbanzo and fava bean flour. (Similar to the four-bean flour mix of Bette Hagman) I tolerate products made from this, but $SPOUSE discovered her GI system is, er, incompatible.

    • Maybe you could get some cheap parchment paper, and then you wouldn’t have to use silicone?

      I really wonder why cupcake paper doesn’t come in bigger sizes. I mean, a big blue piece of cupcake parchment would solve a multitude of problems.

  3. I laugh every time someone claims the thump test doesn’t work.

    If it doesn’t work…then why do the ones that sound RIGHT keep getting commented, by folks who don’t know I picked that one, for being the ones that taste best?

  4. I was wondering ‘why’ there wasn’t a watermelon on the outside fridge…LOL

    • I can always go back this Saturday and get one!

      But I got what I needed; flow patterns for the chapter. I also got the tomatoes my love asked for. And a bar of grapefruit-lemongrass soap, and oak-smoked black pepper, and…

  5. A fellow once told me that he and his brothers spent their late summer evenings seeing who could send the watermelon pits furthest into yhe backyard. The next year they had watermelons sprouting around the edge of the lawn.

    On a Harry Potter fan site, a discussion arose of magic-enhanced fruits and veggies. I proposed self-(s)pitting watermelons.

  6. Cicadas: I remember those growing up in the midwest, LO! those many years ago! Yet, I don’t recall seeing/hearing them in North Dakota. 30+ years in Oregon and Washington has been cicada-less.

    • They are yearly down here, and the drone will drown out everything short of a lawnmower at close range. (In fact, I am sitting in my office and can hear them through the heavy storm windows. The closest tree is easily 40′ away!) They started late this year, and seem to be doing their best to make up for the delay.

    • For me, summer starts with the first firefly, and high summer starts with the first cicada tuning up.

      • Where I live, it is too dry for fireflies. They are found down in the valleys on the edges of the plateau. When I lived in Flat State, they would dance in the empty lot beside and behind my apartment. They also appeared in Nebraska, although not as many as there had once been. (Too much infill and too many people spraying for mosquitoes without knowing the consequences.)

  7. In the Midwest (cough Chicago Metro cough), cicadas were known as the 17 year locust. I lived in Michigan during the ’50s, but the only cicada eruption when I lived there was in the early 70s, probably 1973. Loud rascals. I left in ’74, and don’t recall running across many in Silicon Valley.

    Used to capture fireflies on summer evenings when I was 8 to 10..

Comments are closed.