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Freshly Picked: August at the Napa Farmers Market

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Melons at the Napa Farmers Market

Melons at the Napa Farmers Market. 

Happy National Farmers Market Week!

Every year farmers markets across America take time to celebrate the first week of August as National Farmers Market Week. Last year, the Napa Farmers Market was voted #1 in California during the annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration. Help us defend our title and get into the top three farmers markets nationwide by voting online at napafarmersmarket.org.

The best way to celebrate Farmers Market Week is to show your support by shopping with us on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at 1100 West St. in Napa.

Right now, we are in peak season, and at our Saturday market you will find 50 stalls filled with farm-fresh produce, more than 40 specialty food vendors, around 10 artisans, and a few local community organizations. Starting last month, customer seating has returned, creating community spaces for folks to pause and enjoy their delicious purchases.

As a reminder, masks are not required in our outdoor setting, however they are strongly recommended for the unvaccinated, under vaccinated (only one shot out of two), and for anyone who feels more comfortable wearing one.

If your goal is to avoid the crowds, I recommend shopping between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., when our customer counts are lower. Although not as big as Saturday, the Tuesday market still has a great selection of fresh produce, specialty food, and artisan goods in a more low-key environment.

August Harvest of the Month featured fruit are melons. These thick-rinded, sweet-fleshed fruit are divided into two categories: muskmelons and watermelons.

Muskmelons include familiar varieties such as cantaloupe, casaba, and honeydew. Savory melon preparations include tomato and watermelon salad, melon gazpacho and melon salsa.

At home, ripe melons can be stored on the counter for three to five days or in the refrigerator for one week. Cut melons should be wrapped and stored in the fridge for no more than four days.

Summer squash is August’s featured veggie, which come in many varieties, like zucchini and chayote, and all can be substituted for each other in cooking.

Unlike winter squash, the entire vegetable, including the seeds and skin, is edible and the soft flesh has a very delicate flavor.

At the market choose squash small to medium in size that are heavy for their size and have soft, unblemished rinds. At home, store at room temperature on the counter, rather than in the refrigerator, and it will stay good for one to four days. Enjoy summer squashes sliced in salads, sauteed over pasta, or cooked into bread.

See you at the market!

Cold Melon Soup

Serves 8

This recipe is adapted from EatFresh.org, an online recipe and nutrition resource developed for CalFresh eligible individuals and families, and an excellent tool for anyone interested in eating healthier on a budget.

6 cups muskmelon (your choice) half coarsely chopped, and half cubed

2 cups orange juice

3 tablespoons honey

2 cups sparkling water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup yogurt, low-fat plain (optional)

Mint leaves, fresh

In a large bowl: add the cubed melon. In a blender: add 3 cups of the coarsely chopped melon, 1 cup of the orange juice, lime juice, honey, and blend. Pour the blended mixture over the coarsely chopped melons in the large bowl. In the same blender: add remaining 3 cups coarsely chopped melon and remaining 1 cup of orange juice and blend. (Optional: add yogurt.) Pour the blended mixture into the large bowl.Stir in sparkling water, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, pour into chilled bowls and garnish with a spoonful of yogurt and a few mint leaves.

Healthy Eating Habits to Fight COVID-19, According to the WHO. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends following these 5 eating habits when it comes to fighting coronavirus. 1. Eat whole foods and maintain a diverse diet. This is the best way to ensure you consume sufficient vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy immune system. 2. Always include fruits and vegetables on your plate. The University of Cincinnati Health says, "the more colorful your plate is with a variety of choices" is best. 3. Eats nuts as a snack. Nuts are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant known for its ability to boost the immune system. 4. Add whole grains and legumes. According to a study published by 'The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,' whole grains are proven to aid gut health, ease inflammation and improve overall immune response. 5. Incorporate animal-sourced foods. A study published by 'The Journal of Nutrition' found that "animal source foods can provide a variety of micronutrients that are difficult to obtain in adequate quantities from plant source foods alone."

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Cara Mae Wooledge is manager of the Napa Farmers Market.

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