A Time and Place to Linger
By Mark Mulcahy
In the produce department it’s ok to linger… heck it’s almost expected. Why? Because produce is a department of senses and seasons which is probably what makes it so special to so many of Melissa’s produce customers. More so than any other department, it seems almost like there is a culture or sharing of attitudes to those who shop for fresh Melissa’s Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Each table or rack contains the opportunity to enliven your senses.
If you love Melissa’s organic produce you’ll recognize what I’m talking about. If you are a casual produce buyer and can’t quite relate to what I’m saying, I recommend that the next time you are in your favorite produce department that stocks an array of Melissa’s awesome organic summer produce, take a look around at your other fellow shoppers. During this time of year you’ll notice folks smelling the cantaloupes for a delicate scent of flavor that tells you it is ripe, or surveying the bunches of fresh Organic Chard
for just the one for tonight’s stir fry.
You might hear the sound of someone shaking an organic coconut to make sure it has plenty of milk inside. Or observe someone gently running their hands along the smooth skin of our Honeydew Melons
to detect a slight waxy feel to the rind that lets them know it is just right. You may even hear a shriek of delight when a Peach
or Fig lover finds their favorite variety on the shelf for the first time this season.
Others will be standing next to their cart or with basket in hand passing the time chatting with old friends until they realize they still have dinner to make or kids to pick up.
So whether you are thumping your Watermelon
, enjoying the bountiful displays, strolling through the aisles, or chatting with your favorite produce clerk, I encourage you to take a break in your day to stop and smell the basil. It’ll make the slow days of summer actually feel that way! And while you are stopping to enjoy the bounty, here are a few tips for picking out the perfect Melissa’s organic melon.
For Cantaloupe try this
- First, pick it up; hold it in both hands. If it’s rock hard, put it down - it won’t ripen. Look at the color beneath the raised netting. It should be beige or buff colored. A gray-green background color indicates the melon isn’t ripe. Gently but firmly press the indentation on the bottom of the melon (opposite the stem end). It should have some give. Finally, give it a good whiff. If you detect a rich, melon aroma and everything else checks out, buy it - you have a winner. To ripen further, leave your melon out until you’re ready to use it. It’s fine to refrigerate a ripe melon.
For the best Honeydew
- Go for melons that are firm and weighty, with creamy color skin and a waxy feel to the rind. At room temp, ripe honeydew will exude a pleasant fragrance. Often harvested before they are fully ripe, honeydews are very high in sugar and will continue to ripen after harvest, something most melons will not do. Improve your odds of finding a good one by pressing the end opposite the stem end; it should yield. Be sure and try the Golden and Orange varieties as well as the classic Green. Orange honeydew has a firmer texture and tutti-frutti flavor, Golden is very sweet and mellow. All are rich in vitamin C.
Now for the big ones
- To choose the best Watermelon
some folks swear by the author of Huck Finn’s advice. Mark Twain reportedly said that an unripe melon will make a pink or pank
sound when thumped but that a ripe melon will give a resounding PUNK
, like a drum. Visual cues to look for when selecting melons are a creamy yellow underside and a smooth symmetrical shape. Avoid melons with a flat side or shiny skin.