By Carolyn Twesten, Weaver Street Market Produce Merchandiser
Nothing says summer like a sweet, crisp slice of watermelon. This heat-loving fruit (actually, botanically speaking it is considered a berry!) is thought to have originated in Africa 5000 years ago, where watermelons were a valuable source of portable hydration. Beyond the benefits of hydration though, watermelons are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene as well as vitamin C, both of which have been shown to improve heart health and potentially reduce the risk of cancer. Great taste pairs well with great health benefits!
Watermelon is one of the seasonal favorites that we usually only start to carry when they are being harvested regionally. Generally, the harvest starts in Florida and then makes its way up the coast until late June or early July, when finally the North Carolina farms start harvesting. Depending on the level of heat and the amount of rainfall the region is getting, the melons may be more or less sweet. So far this season, the sweetness and flavor of the fruit has been amazing for both the watermelon and cantaloupes I have tried!
In season, our watermelon and cantaloupe are grown in Autreyville, NC by Jackson Farming and distributed to us by Farmer Foodshare. Farmer Foodshare is a unique local non-profit that works from both sides of the plate to address the state’s food insecurity issues—engaging struggling family farmers to provide fresh, healthy food to families in need.
Farmer Foodshare’s Program
Farmer Foodshare was formed in 2009 by shoppers and farmers at the Carrboro Farmers Market who banded together after seeing fresh, delicious food go to waste at the end of market. They joined together to create a solution—Donation Stations, which allow shoppers and farmers to donate locally grown food directly to local food pantries. The model can now be found at farmers markets across the state, helping to get fresh food to food insecure families.
As the demand for fresh food grew, Farmer Foodshare started to source more products directly from farms for hunger relief groups. They then realized that farmers in more rural areas of the state without easy access to urban markets would benefit greatly from a distribution network that could get their produce into stores, schools, and restaurants around the Triangle. This realization spurred the creation of the Farmer Foodshare Wholesale Market, where Weaver Street Market gets much of our seasonal NC fruits such as apples, berries, melons, and peaches! So when you purchase one of these fruits in season, you can feel good that you are helping to support local farmers as well as increasing fresh food access and education for the many partners and families across the Farmer Foodshare network.
This week’s owner coupon is 30 percent off all melons, good through July 10, 2019. Owners, look for the coupon in our weekly e-news, sent on Wednesday morning. If you didn’t get the coupon, you may need to update your email address in our owner database. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not an owner? Become one today to receive the weekly owner coupon as well as the other benefits of ownership, like invitations to the Co-op Fair, a logo T-shirt and bag, and the right to vote in board elections. Learn more here.