TOLEDO CHRONICLE- Once school starts we notice a drop in attendance at the Toledo Farmers’ Market. Not so for this Friday evening. There was a large crowd with15 vendors ready to sell. With nine weeks left of market be sure to come out and make your fresh fruits and veggie purchases. Winter squash is beginning to make an appearance, and there were plenty of tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, potatoes, cabbage, okra, garlic, beets, watermelons, egg plant, onions, carrots, jams, jellies, and homemade bakery to be purchased.
Watermelon is one of my summer favorites. You can find watermelons at the Toledo Farmers’ Market. To grow a watermelon you need three things, sun, bees, and water. Honeybees must pollinate the yellow watermelon blossom.Even the seedless watermelon requires pollination in order to bear fruit. Did you know within a month the vine may spread to as much as 6-8 feet?Then within 60 days, the vine produces its first watermelons. Watermelons are ready to harvest within 3 months of planting.
Many ask, how do you know if a watermelon is ready to harvest. If you ask growers, they all have their own method of knowing when a watermelon is ready to harvest. Some look at the curly Q by the stem, if it is dried up, it’s ripe. Some know by tapping on the watermelon, by the sound they hear. But most look at the belly ground spot, it needs to be pale or buttery yellow. When you pick up a watermelon it should be heavy for its size. That is because a watermelon is 92 percent water, which is most of its weight.
I am sure many heard growing up if you swallow the seeds of a watermelon, one will grow in your stomach. I always though I was in trouble, I swallowed a lot of watermelon seeds in my days. Seedless watermelons have few or no seeds. Seeds that are mature are the black ones. Now the white seed coats where a seed did not mature are assumed to be seeds. But that isn’t the case. And the best thing is you can eat all of those you want, they won’t grow in your stomach.
Here are a few interesting facts:
The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. By weight watermelon is the most consumed melon in the U.S. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens. Watermelon rind pickles (my favorite) was in the first published cookbook in 1776. There are about 200-300 varieties of watermelons grown in the U.S. and Mexico. And as with any fruit of veggie, be sure to wash the watermelon before cutting into it.
See you at market.
Toledo Market Master