A profusion of weighty, thick-skinned melons has rolled into town, coinciding with the sweetening of delicate heirloom tomatoes. To carry home the spoils unspoiled, we recommend heavy-duty totes for the former and a small bag or basket for the latter. Once home, make room in the fridge, since nothing beats the heat like a cool melon. But leave those heirlooms on the counter — a refrigerated tomato is never the same again.
What to Look For
The Golden Crown watermelon is an early variety with skin that turns yellow when ripe. Inside, the sweet red flesh is dense and concentrated, perfect for freezing into ultrarefreshing popsicles ($1 per pound at Oak Grove, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
A daikon relative, the watermelon radish, is often displayed cut open in order to reveal their insides. Pale green and pink on the outside, they are spectacularly fuchsia within and can be sliced into tiny wedges that resemble Lilliputian versions of their sweet namesake. Radishes get hot along with the weather, so shave them thinly to add spunk to salad, or sauté in butter with sweet onions to mellow their bite ($2 per pound at Paffenroth, available Wednesday and Saturday).
You may know Vietnamese cilantro as Vietnamese mint or rau ram. The small, spear-shaped green leaves, often mottled with purple, boast a fragrant, minty flavor and slight citrus aroma. Integral to Malaysian laksa (the spicy coconut noodle curry), it’s also wonderful tucked into summer rolls or sprinkled over grilled fish as an exotic alternative to standards like parsley or basil ($2 per bunch at Stokes, available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
Canary-hued shiro plums are candy-sweet even when crisp. Stock up to enjoy some crunchy while you let others soften at room temperature until their syrupy juices develop. Or speed things up by roasting slices with honey to serve with ice cream or fresh farmer cheese ($4 per pound at Terhune, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Blink and You’ll Miss It
If you didn’t leap for joy when bush lima beans appeared a couple of weeks ago, there’s still time to reconsider. The starchy green legume gets a bad rap because it’s typically found frozen in a block, but fresh lima beans are sweet and creamy. Sub them in for the beans in this succotash. They’ll disappear in a week or two, so don’t delay ($4 per pound at Cherry Lane, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Overheard at the Market: Department of Renewed Optimism
“Coming to the market makes me believe the world is actually going to survive.” —Zoe Singer and Sarah Huck