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September 10, 2007

Unusual Market Finds

A farmer's market is a great place to find unusual varieties of things that you'd never find in a typical grocery store, and this week I must have been in an adventurous mood, because I came home with several things that I'd never bought before.

This Rock Melon (back) caught my eye because it was so darn ugly, but it smelled absolutely heavenly, so I decided to bring it home with me. The Tiger Melon was something I considered trying in the garden this year, but didn't, so I thought it would be a good idea to test it to see if they're worth growing (they taste much like a Honeydew, but are the perfect size for one person). The Yellow Ruffled tomato was just plain pretty, so I picked it up too.

While savouring these farm fresh delights, it occurred to me that I had the makings of my own crop of unusual fruits sitting right in front of me, so I scooped some seeds from each one and set them out to dry (tomato seeds are easier to dry if you soak them in water for several days until the gelatinous coating on them dissolves).

Any guesses what this plant is? It's a Tea Tree (as in tea tree oil)! The anti fungal/antiseptic oil is difficult to extract from the leaves, but they can apparently be used in their natural state as a tea to soothe a sore throat.

I've bought these before, but they're another thing that I rarely see anywhere other than at the farmer's market - cheese curds. They're yummy little nuggets that are great for nibbling, but my kids have been begging me to make poutine with them (a dangerous French Canadian specialty which involves french fries topped with melty cheese curds and a generous helping of gravy). I can feel my arteries clogging at the very thought of them!
Aside from perusing the farmer's market, we've been busy trying to finalize plans for the actual groundbreaking on our property (frankly, at this point I don't even believe that's ever going to happen), planning activities for the upcoming "not-school" year, and doing a bit of preserving.
We picked 6 quarts of wild blackberries when we were on the island, which I froze, and I've also been busy making and freezing pesto. The basil plants that were spared from the food processor were frozen loosely in bags. The leaves will be crumbled into sauces to add a bit of summer freshness to our winter meals.
Before I go, can somebody please tell me how the heck I'm supposed to tell when a Green Zebra tomato is ripe?!


10 comments:

Heather said...

That is one ugly melon. Hope it tasted good. My boys made cheese curds once as a science experiment and then made poutine with them. It was quite easy if I remember correctly.

Michelle Ellis said...

We call cheese curd "squeaky cheese" because it squeaks when you chew it.

mmmmm.......Poutine!

El said...

Hi Cheryl

Green Zebras are ready when they get a little yellow on them. They're super duper ripe when they're chartreuse with green stripes! (But they can be eaten before then, too.)

Good luck with the tiger melons. I have had little luck with them, compared with other sweet melons; their taste wasn't super remarkable, either. But that ugly one! Mmm.

Danielle said...

What el said, and they make a fabulous salsa with their zesty zing. Definitely planting them again next year!

dawn said...

Wow those are fabulous finds. You always have the most interesting things on your blog. I don't know about the green zebra tomato (I see el answered you anyway), but wouldn't mind trying it. Daughter Z likes anything zebra, so we have the malva zebrina flowers which are beautiful. I love cheese curd and my kids love poutine. I like it to, but I like my fries plain with salt when I have them.

I hope you get your ground breaking done soon. We have quasi started school.

Howling Hill said...

Thanks for the tomato seed advice. I've been killing myself trying to figure out how to dry the seed.

Speaking of which, I've started a seed swap. Details on my site for anyone interested.

Steffi said...

You found very nice things again...Really interesting.A tea tree really good!
Thank you very much for sharing the pictures!

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

Did you by chance save seeds from the yellow ruffled tomato? Maybe we could swap some seeds ? I'd like to get my hands on some of the seeds for it. Here is a link I found about it:
http://www.growquest.com/tomato%20yellow_ruffled.htm
I'm going to the country living Faire next weekend- they supposedly have farmers selling heirloom veggies. Thinking I may grab some for seed saving to use in next years garden. Do you think it would be too late in the season to save seeds from veggies now?

Cheryl said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. El and Danielle, thanks for your help with the Green Zebras, and Heather, I'm dying to try making cheese curds now!
Nio, thanks for the invite to the seed swap, I'll swing by your site to check it out!

Silly Mommy said...

I found one of those Tiger melons at my local farmer's market this morning. I have it currently sitting at arm's length and I can STILL smell it's sweet aroma. It's perfectly ripe and juicy, so I'm going to let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours otherwise the juice will run down my shirt!

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