Mouthwatering Watermelon

Mouthwatering Watermelon

Watermelon is as integral a part of the summer experience as building sandcastles at the beach or catching fireflies on a warm evening. Easily filling the role of dessert, it is as tasty as it is fun to eat. Even as adults, we love the flavor of this melon, whether it is paired with a cheese in a salad or used as the foundation for an adult beverage. Though August is now in the rear view mirror and the apple picking season is just around the corner, Colchester Neighborhood Farm continues to harvest this sweet summer vegetable…yes, I said vegetable, because technically, it is considered both a fruit and veggie. And here are few more fun facts to consider about this sweet summer staple.

According to the website, betweenusparents.com, Americans consume more watermelon than any other melon. Cantaloupe comes in second place and honeydew in third place.

A cousin to the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family, watermelon is considered both fruit and vegetable. However, according to the website, livability.com, in 2007, the state of Oklahoma removed any ambivalence about how to categorize the gourd when it passed a bill declaring it a vegetable, and the official state vegetable, at that.

According to the website, thetowndish, early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

In China and Japan, watermelon is given as a hostess gift similar to our tradition of bringing flowers.

In Israel and Egypt, the sweet taste of watermelon is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.

Egyptian hieroglyphics indicate that the first-ever watermelon harvest took place roughly 5,000 years ago. The sweet fruit (vegetable) often was sealed into the tombs of kings because, really, who couldn’t use a snack in the afterlife.

An estimated 40,000 visitors check out the soaring 154-foot watermelon-shaped water tower each year in Lulling, Texas, home of the annual Watermelon Thump event, named for the sworn-by method of “rind-thumping” for checking a melon’s ripeness.

The seedless variety of watermelons was invented 50 years ago.

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon, weighing 268.8 lbs. (121.93 kg) was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005.

It takes approximately 90 days to grow a watermelon….from planting to harvesting.

The United States ranks 5th in worldwide production of watermelon. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona consistently are the leading producers.

Every part of the watermelon is edible, including the seeds and the rind. In fact, the first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

Though the summer season and its harvest is winding down, the workers at Colchester Neighborhood Farm are still picking plenty of organically grown vegetables and fruits, including watermelon, which lets the taste of summer linger just a little longer.

Advertisements
Colorful Facts About Chard

Colorful Facts About Chard

You can certainly file this list of fascinating facts about chard under “things I will probably never need to know,” but, then again, there’s no telling when one of these pieces of trivia will present itself as a clue on Jeopardy and you will end up sounding—and feeling—like a genius when you shout out the answer.  Boasting the colors of the rainbow, red, yellow, purple, and orange, chard is the leafy green that can dress up any dish. It comes in three varieties: rainbow, green—better known as Swiss—and red chard.  Packed with nutrients but containing very few calories, Swiss chard is at the top of every dieter’s list. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is currently harvesting this oh-so-good-for-you vegetable.

Here are some other lesser known, but equally interesting, tidbits of information about chard.

Though it is harvested between June and August, chard is available year round.

According to fullcircle.com, Swiss chard is called such because the botanist who discovered it came from Switzerland.  However, the plant originated in Sicily. As a result of its origins, Swiss chard is an integral part of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

According to webmd.com Chard comes from the Latin word cardus, meaning thistle.

It is a member of the beet family, but its roots are inedible, so don’t even think about it!

Like other leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, chard is packed with Vitamins K, A, and C.

It is also rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Swiss chard can reach up to 28 inches tall!

Chard has been around for a while. Dating back to the fourth century B.C., Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about the leafy vegetable.

According to the website whfoods.com, the ancient Greeks and later the Romans once revered this vegetable because of its medicinal properties.

The best way to store chard is to place it in a plastic bag and to squeeze as much air out of the bag while wrapping the chard tightly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Do not rinse the vegetable until just before ready to use.

Chard can be used in juices but most websites recommend cooking it, since it can have a somewhat bitter taste. It can be steamed, braised, boiled or cooked in a stuffing. Most sites recommend cooking the leaves the way you would spinach and cooking the stems in the same manner you cook asparagus. Including this powerhouse in your diet is definitely a healthy move! To purchase this and other healthy and organic vegetables, visit Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton.

Organic Ways to Beat Fear and Anxiety

From Organic Gardening…

Sometimes, natural stress remedies are all in your head.

Stress and Worry Are Human Creations

The best explanation of stress we’ve ever heard comes from Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, PhD, the author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.  “If you are a normal mammal,” he notes, “stress is the three minutes of screaming terror on the savanna after which either it’s over with or you’re over with.”

If you’re a human mammal, stress comes not from fear of being eaten but worry about somebody eating your lunch.  Unlike other animals, we have a large brain relative to our body size—a brain that worries.  And now our worry is triggered by the passive-aggressive boss, the weight of a 30-year mortgage, and the job of caring for children and ill parents at the same time.

No wildebeest would understand these fears, but the perceived threats spark the same bodily survival responses that crocodile attacks do.  And they last way longer than a croc’s lunchtime.  But you can do something about stress.  Search and destroy.  Here’s where stress typically strikes and how to strike back.

  1. Stress Spot: The BrainThe Fix: Don’t be so damned conscientious
  2. Stress Spot: The Neck, Head, and BackThe Fix: Create a three-legged life
  3. Stress Spot: The HairThe Fix: Focus on somebody besides numero uno
  4. Stress Spot: The Sympathetic Nervous SystemThe Fix: Twist yourself into a pretzel and laugh
  5. Stress Spot: The GutThe Fix: Give yourself a hand
  6. Stress Spot: Your DNAThe Fix: Meditate
  7. Stress Spot: Your Sex LifeThe Fix: Unleash the oxytocin

A Celebration of Spring for All Ages

On Saturday May 4th, we celebrated spring by reconnecting with the land and community through planting, sharing a meal, and expressing gratitude for earth’s renewal.  There was a wonderful turnout of friends and volunteers to see the progress and changes that have occurred over the last year at Colchester Neighborhood Farm.

Activities included planting, potluck lunch, visiting with our young cashmere goat kids and the other animals, creating clay art projects, growing a sunflower project, getting away from it all by taking a quiet walk through our labyrinth, Kerrie tending to her new hive of honey bees, and a perennial plant share.

Click on an image below to begin a slideshow!

4 Reasons to Eat More Kale

ImageFrom Organic Gardening…

Kale is one of those vegetables people plant with the best intentions, but too many times it sits in the garden until it’s covered with snow.  You know it’s good for you and is one of the best “superfoods” you can add to your plate, but kale has other far-reaching benefits if eaten in place of a primarily meat-centered dinner.  Adding kale to your plate might be the easiest way to save the world.

Found out all four reasons by clicking HERE.