Summer always goes too fast, but there’s one thing that takes the sting out of the shortening days, and that’s the explosion of produce in our market. No other season brings such a riot of color and flavors. The fruits and vegetables have had the benefit of long-ripening time and are at their peak of flavor right now.
Late Summer at Market Hall Produce
Fruits and vegetables from local farms in Brentwood, Winters, Hollister, Watsonville, and Sebastopol
- Beans - Blue Lake, Cranberry, Romano, Yellow Wax
- Figs - Adriatic, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota
- Melons - Cantaloupe, Orange-flesh Honeydew, Watermelon
- Peaches from the renowned Goldbud Farms
- Peppers - Gypsy, Padrons
- Plums - Elephant Hearts, Flavor Kings, Flavor Queens, Italian Prune Plums
- Tomatoes - Dry Farmed Early Girls, Heirlooms of every color and shape
Spotlight on Melons
Our bins are overflowing with melons of every stripe and color and our team of melon whisperers love nothing more than helping you pick the perfect one. After decades of working with fresh produce, our team knows just what a ripe melon looks, sounds, and feels like. There’s no charge for cutting a melon and you can taste before you decide to buy.
Picking the right melon is not a one-size-fits-all game. Every variety needs to be judged by a different set of characteristics. Here are a few tips for picking the best of our top-selling melons.
- An innie, not an outie - An indentation at the stem end of the melon indicates that it was harvested at “full slip” meaning that it separated from the vine with only slight pressure, a sign that it was picked at peak ripeness. (pictured right)
- Big blossom = big flavor - At the opposite of the stem end is the blossom. On a good cantaloupe, this should be a big round, flower-like scar. (picture 2)
- Net effect - Look for well-defined even netting across the skin.
- Heavy lifting - Pick up two melons of roughly the same size and weigh them in your hands. The heavier one will have a denser flesh and a better flavor.
- The color of flavor - From the outside these can look like a typical green honeydew, but the ones with a pale-orange hue will have the best flavor.
- Big blossom - As with cantaloupes, orange-fleshed honeydews should have a big round scar at the blossom end of the fruit.
- Tacky to the touch - As these melons mature, the skins become smooth and slippery and some varieties change color. When the fruit is fully ripe, the skins change again to have a slightly sticky, tacky feeling.
- Bigger is better - According to our produce team the number one mistake shoppers make when choosing watermelons is looking for a size that will suit their appetite. Always go for the largest melon in the bin. If you think it’s more than you need, we’re happy to cut it for you, give you a taste, and you can take home just what you need.
- Take a ribbing - Look for well developed ribs running the length of the melon.
- Knock knock - According to Market Hall Produce manager, Gabriel Villanueva, sound is the critical factor when choosing a watermelon. Pick up the melon and give it a whack. Listen for a hollow, watery resonance. “It’s almost more of a feeling than a sound,” says Villanueva.
Fresh Ideas for Melons
Orange Honeydew Salsa—Combine cubes of diced melon with red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, Serrano chile, olive oil and salt to taste.
Cantaloupe Salad with Burrata & Basil—Serve slices of cantaloupe with fresh burrata cheese. Garnish with torn basil leaves. Season with champagne vinegar and coarse salt. Drizzle with olive oil just before serving.
Watermelon Mojitos—In a pitcher, combine pureed and strained watermelon with a bit of sugar, fresh lime juice and crushed mint. Add white rum and serve well chilled. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and lime wedges.