Farmers’ Market: Anticipating Autumn, and Rejoicing in Watermelons

It was so hot this morning. One should not be melting in the sun before it’s even ten o’clock, but we really, really were.

zucchini

Illustrative sun mandala from zucchini, squash and eggplants.  I much prefer this sort of sun…

Actually, I still am.  This is nasty, nasty, weather.  Almost as bad as being in Sydney (sorry, Sydneysiders – I have nothing against you, but I cannot stand the weather you have in Summer).

all

And yet… the market itself was definitely moving into Autumn.  We had a brand new stall today with the new season apples – Gravensteins, and two other varieties whose names I have forgotten because my brain melted in the heat.  I do know that I bought the sweeter and less crunchy of the two for eating, and Gravensteins for my first apple crumble of the year.  And dried apples, looking like autumn leaves…

There's something cheeringly autumnal about this, don't you think?  Also, I've been re-reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books - so much food in those books! - and have been vaguely craving Almanzo's apples'n'onions ever since.

There’s something cheeringly autumnal about this, don’t you think? Also, I’ve been re-reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books – so much food in those books! – and have been vaguely craving Almanzo’s apples’n’onions ever since.

The mushroom man had the first Swiss Brown mushrooms of the season and they were *enormous*.  He said he had a couple that weighed half a kilo each, but had sold them to the breakfast stall.  The four I got must have weighed close to 800g between them – I really noticed the weight in my hands when I put them into a bag.

Harbingers of autumn - new season apples and giant mushrooms.

Harbingers of autumn – new season apples and giant mushrooms.

The first of the new season pumpkins were out, and the zucchinis and eggplants are getting larger, as befits the end of summer.  And there were watermelons, something I’ve never seen at this market before!

This is my watermelon face.  I made Andrew come in and photograph it.  It's even more gleeful from the inside.

This is my watermelon face. I made Andrew come in and photograph it. It’s even more gleeful from the inside.

I’ve already made half the watermelon into a drink with lime juice and orange flower water – deliciously refreshing.  I have plans for a watermelon, feta and mint salad later in the week, too.

Watermelon and squash.

Watermelon and squash.

There were herbs everywhere – we had a bit of rain last week, which has made the farmers happy (John at Wild Dog told us last time that he spends all day watering at present – last week, he got a bit of a break), and tomatoes in every possible colour, and even capsicums, something we don’t see much of.

This is very a very upright capsicum.  He may be singing "Stand by your broccoli," but it's difficult to tell from a photograph.

This is very a very upright capsicum. He may be singing “Stand by your broccoli,” but it’s difficult to tell from a photograph.

Once again, I exercised restraint, given my own garden’s produce.  We’re definitely not clear of summer yet, just in case the weather wasn’t a giveaway.

Of course, turning one's vegetables into exclamation marks isn't all that restrained, but what did you expect?

Of course, turning one’s vegetables into exclamation marks isn’t all that restrained, but what did you expect?

… and, actually, over at Wild Dog, we were still in spring, with fresh purple garlic, bags of tiny new potatoes and piles of strawberries.  And one stallholder had huge sacks of green and purple string beans.  Much as I detest this weather, I do love the way absolutely all the produce is out now.

spring

A wreath of spring-like produce. It’s so very chic and Melbournian to have four seasons in one market!

Tiny leeks and rhubarb were also on the menu, and, lest you think Winter isn’t getting proper acknowledgement, onions, broccoli, and lots of dark leafy greens are coming into season – I bought Chinese broccoli and Fat Hen, but there was plenty to choose from.  Not cardoons yet, though.  That would be weird.  Though, come to think of it, I didn’t check for quinces, and they can’t be far away…

Another picture that makes me gloat just to look at it.  So much deliciousness all at once...

Another picture that makes me gloat just to look at it. So much deliciousness all at once…

All this glorious produce is a delight, but I’m in grants madness right now and need a few ready-made things to make my evenings easier.  I bought three pizza bases, to cover with tomatoes, zucchini, basil and cheese for lunch today, and to top with roast vegetables later in the week when it cools down a little.

pizza

Most people chop their veggies, or at least take the stems off, before cooking them. Actually, they probably also take the pizza base out of its cling wrap. Do not do this at home!

And the multicolour gnocchi make a little variation in the current endless world of penne that we are living in (hot weather does not increase my culinary creativity).

pizza2

I bought eggs, which is a little ironic because I’ve just spent the evening making lashings of egg-free cakey things for tomorrow’s fundraiser morning tea, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for them.  Well, I already have, a little bit, though putting them in a zucchini, leek and cheese pie for dinner is hardly featuring them…

egg1

On the other hand, making a Spanish omelette full of potatoes and onions and peppers would be just grand…

And at that point, we were pretty much done.  It was a really beautiful market, but the weather did not encourage one to linger…

Greens, symbolising my general feelings of seediness in this horrible weather...

Greens, symbolising my general feelings of seediness in this horrible weather…

On the bright side, I already have several meals planned from my haul… tonight’s zucchini pie and watermelon drink, tomorrow will be roast mushroom sandwiches with those fabulous portobellos, and I’ve spotted an interesting looking eggplant and lentil curry recipe that I’d like to try once it cools down sufficiently that being in the kitchen isn’t a penance.

all2

Print Friendly

8 responses to “Farmers’ Market: Anticipating Autumn, and Rejoicing in Watermelons

  1. Proportions/recipe for the watermelon/lime/orange flower drink? Enquiring minds and all that.

    • About 1.5 kilos of watermelon (weight with skin on, but obviously you remove it before pureeing), 2 very juicy limes, 1 tsp orange flower water and a little salt. The recipe is from Deborah Madison and I haven’t really changed it, so I can’t post it as a proper post.

  2. love the watermelon face – no wonder in this weather – you just reminded me I had a watermelon for yesterday and forgot it – shame I used up all my limeade or I could have added some watermelon to it

    and love that coloured gnocchi

  3. I cannot stop boggling at the fact that strawberries are a spring fruit for you.

  4. Definitely. I suppose the early crop varieties are beginning to creep into very late spring, but in general they don’t really get going till June.

Leave a Reply