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Produce in season

by Jordan Green

Tim and Jen Burke of Florida were selling watermelons at the intersection of High Point and Hilltop roads in Greensboro last week. (photo by Jordan Green)

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Tomatoes

There is nothing better than homegrown tomatoes, and my family was the beneficiary of fresh tomatoes when I house-sat for friends in Julian last week. Irregularly shaped, cracked and featuring concentric stretch marks around their tops, they are no beauties. But the fruit is meaty, succulent and flavorful — like nothing off of a store shelf.

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Watermelon

Tim and Jen Burke, who hail from Florida, were selling watermelons out of a utility truck at the intersection of High Point and Hilltop Roads in Greensboro last week. They had Sugar Babies, Stars and Stripes and a seedless variety. Tim said this load had been harvested near Burgaw about four days earlier. Another source for watermelon is the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, which holds a promotional event on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And on Saturday, the Lexington Farmers Market will be the site for a watermelon-eating contest with cash prizes in both youth and adult divisions.

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Sweet corn and then some

LaToya Winslow has recently purchased red potatoes, white eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, string beans, bell peppers, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet corn from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. The majority is sourced to Faucette Farms. The market is open on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to noon and on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Eggplant

Eggplant is a key ingredient in ratatouille, a dish that Guilford College assistant professor Jane Redmont prepares with locally-source produce. She alternates between the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax. She picked up tomatoes at the Colfax market from Moon Creek Farm in Yanceyville and yellow squash at the Greensboro market from NIMBY, or Naturally In My Back Yard. Other local ingredients include onions, garlic and fresh basil. The Colfax market is open Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Cucumbers

Redmont also makes cucumber yogurt salad, like ratatouille, a carryover from her upbringing in France. The traditional salad consists of sour cream and fresh tarragon, but she substitutes yogurt and dill. Cucumbers are about to go out of season, but a second crop come in near the middle of September.

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Peaches

Peaches are in season from early June to late September. The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market is making a special effort to market the delectable fruit by declaring Aug. 13 “Peach Day.” The Siler City Farmers Market also anticipates having peaches soon.

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Peppers

Cobblestone Farmers Market, located across from Krankie’s Coffee at 3 rd Street and Patterson Avenue in Winston-Salem and operating from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday, features peppers — sweet and hot — this week.

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Squash

Squash is in season through late September. The Siler City Farmers Market, open every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. since 2006, advertises acorn, yellow and butternut squashes, along with blueberries, apples, pears, beets, zucchini, okra and too many varieties of produce to mention.

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Cilantro

A little bit of a trek from the Triad perhaps, but the Chatham Mills Farmers Market in Pittsboro apparently offers shade-grown cilantro. This according to a Facebook post from NC Cooperative Extension agent Debbie Roos, who reports she made salsa from cilantro, tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapeños provisioned on a recent visit.

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Cabbage

One of the heartiest of greens, cabbage is in season from early may through mid- December. Based on previous observation, the website for the Lexington Farmers Market (www.lexingtonncfarmersmarket.com) predicts what will be available at its Saturday market. Seasonal produce listed this week includes cabbage, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and collards.

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