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Fruits and Vegetables Abound at the Farmers’ Market!

The summer monsoons are a welcome sign that summer has arrived and to the farmers and ranchers of the SantaRoxanne Garcia Cruz Valley it means water; the source of life.  Rain is a precious commodity here in the southwest and along with the afternoon rains come a bounty of hot weather vegetables.  When shopping at your local farmers market you will see lots of varietals of summer squash; Patty pan, yellow, and Zucchini, beautiful purple, yellow, and green pole beans; Lemon, Armenian, Pickling and Slicing Cucumbers, Sweet Corn and red and green okra.   Perhaps you have waited all winter long for a taste of a plump, juicy tomato, the farmers’ markets are brimming with fresh local tomatoes: red, purple, yellow, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, pungent garlic bulbs and the silky leaves of fresh basil-the trinity of Italian and Mediterranean flavors. This trinity of flavors is notable in the classic margherita pizza, the Caprese salad of sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and torn basil leaves.

The Tucson Farmers’ Market celebrates the trinity of flavors with the Tomato, Basil and Garlic Festival on Saturday, July 18 at the Oro Valley Market and Sunday, July 19 at the Farmers’ Market at St. Philip’s Plaza.
What fruits are available? F-I-G-S! Get them while they last, sweet black mission figs are available for a very short time, so if you see figs at the market, grab them and pat yourself on the back, because locally grown figs are a delight and really hard to come by.  Sadly this year the peaches, cherries and apricots will be scarce, the Wilcox area was affected by a late in the season frost and not many of the fruit trees were able to produce much of a crop. However, we do have sweet juicy melons; Asian, Canary, Cantaloupes, Muskmelons, Honeydews and Watermelons. Melon season begins in July and lasts through the summer. The sun is a melon’s best friend; without extreme seasonal heat the melons would just wither on the vine. You should avoid melons that slosh when shaken or have any soft spots or bruising. Smell is a good determining factor for melons such as cantaloupes and muskmelons, however when choosing honeydew or watermelon a good way is to feel its skin.  It shouldn’t feel slick and no brown spots on its surface, don’t mistake the dark brown sap on the stem this is just the sweet natural sugars eeking out.

Temperatures in the 100’s, thunderstorm build-up, rain and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables…summer has arrived!

Details of the market and a list of the close to 60 vendors can be found at www.farmersmarkettucson.com. The St. Philip's Farmer's Market market is open every Sunday year round and located in St. Philip's Plaza at the south east corner of River and Campbell. There is plenty of parking and the market is also accessible from the River Walk. There is a seasonal variation in hours.  The Oro Valley Farmer's Market is open every Saturday and located at 11000 N. La Canada.  Check the website for the summer hours!  Roxanne Garcia manages both markets so while there stop by and say hello to her.  She will be happy to fill you in on the latest.



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