Hi there!
 
We are already at the halfway point of the Summer Share 2018! Whether you've been with us since Week 1 or you're just joining the Fork, we wanted to thank you for supporting our farmers and deciding to commit to locally-grown this summer. We hope that you are not only enjoying the delicious benefits of being a member, but that you also know what a huge impact you're having on our farming community-- literally keeping millions of dollars annually in our area, which is reinvested in our soil, our neighbors, and importantly, the people who grow our food.

We're getting to the 'colorful-meets-heavy part' of the season-- melons and squashes, tomatoes and onions and so much more in between. Have any new favorite cookbooks or blogs that you're using to help prepare your shares? Send them our way!

And even though we're already halfway through, we do accept new members at any point. So if you know anyone who wants to sign up, send them here to and they can pick up their sweet corn and watermelon with you this week!
A gorgeous bowl of fried cabbage and homemade sausage (!!!) from the cooking duo, @williamanthonys . We love reading about your inspiring health & wellness goals, your first time cooking a new veggie, and just being plain ole' proud of a beautiful dinner you put together, so keep sharing!
WHERE DOES A "SEEDLESS WATERMELON" SEED COME FROM?

Makes you scratch your head, right? How can this be possible if there isn’t even a seed to start from in the fruit itself?

Seedless perennial plants are usually mutants that have been reproduced through old-fashioned plant cloning and grafting. Makes sense, but seedless annuals, like watermelon and cucumbers, which of course must be planted from seed, are a curious thing altogether. 

Basically, seedless fruits do have seeds, but they don't develop. And they need a partner-plant to make it happen through cross-pollination. Breeders have figured out what varieties they can cross-pollinate every year to make seeds that will not properly develop. To achieve the cross-pollination you need for seedless watermelons, the grower needs to plant “pollinator plants” in the row with the fruit bearing plants (1 pollinator plant for every 2 seedless fruit-bearing plants). By having the pollinator plants integrated into the rows, the cross-pollination starts to occur. At a quick glance, both plants look the same. In our case, the seedless melon variety we chose was a “Moon & Stars”, so we can tell the fruit bearing plant apart for the pollinator based on the yellow speckles (“stars”) on the plant leaves.

When the seedless watermelon fruits ripen, their seeds inside fail to fully develop on purpose: they are genetically pre-disposed to NOT take up adequate amounts of certain nutrients, which causes the seeds to be aborted or underdeveloped. Our soil consultant down at Wholesome Valley Farm explained it a little more thoroughly:

“I worked with a seedless watermelon crop in Florida that we took sap samples on. The plants were severely deficient in Manganese and had very low levels of other micronutrients as well. We loaded them up with the nutrients and fertilizers that seemed necessary and whammo... turned the seeds black and ruined the seedless-ness of the melons ,” chuckles Nathan.

He added, “ So, like most things, there is the genetic component, and then the genetic expression component, which is influenced by conditions and mineralization. The issue, of course, is that these micronutrients are also critical parts of the plants' immune reaction system, so such varieties are often more prone to disease and other weaknesses, thus the increasing use of fungicides and insecticides on these crops. We can work out some of these issues nutritionally, but long-term, educating the customer on how to eat a proper watermelon, with seeds, will be a good investment .”

For a grower, an organically grown seedless watermelon is thus a challenge. First, the seed is about 20 times more expensive. Second, the yield is lower: we must account for extra spacing in the rows to plant the pollinator plants to ensure that the cross-pollination occurs. However, over the years we have found that many people really do prefer seedless, so it's worth a try. We had success with a small crop last year, so this year we we upped our seedless plantings.

This was, of course, all before finding out about the nutritional benefits of seeded melons, which does put us in a tough spot. Our organic fertilizer program is important to us. We want to provide the right nutrients for the plants and take care of any additions as needed, but in this case providing too many nutrients could cause “damage” to the seedless-ness trait we were going for. So it's a delicate balance and we'll see how it goes! Some of you may see seeds, some may not, and for us we're learning more each year and with each crop.
Harvesting melons can be quite the workout! The melon above on the right is 22 lbs, and we found one later that day that was 28! Last year, our record was 35 so we are up for the challenge to find one even bigger. To read more from the farm, subscribe to the Wholesome Valley Farm weekly newsletters by clicking here .
Some reminders from our office
AUGUST PAYMENT REMINDER

If you owe a balance on your account, you should be receiving an emailed payment reminder later today. Please sign into your account here to make your payment, or bring cash or check to your stop this week. Thank you!

SUBS FOR ALLERGIES & RESTRICTIONS ONLY

For any and all allergies and dietary restrictions, we are happy to offer you a substitution for something in your share that you cannot eat. However, that policy does not apply to items you simply don't like or don't think your family will eat. For anything that might fall into one of those two latter categories, we have loads of recipes saved online on our Pinterest boards that could help, and if there is really no way you're going to eat it, try swapping with someone in line who might love your carrots/peppers/etc.
FLOWER CARE
In case you'd like to order some of Farmstead Bloom's beautiful bouquets, we thought we'd include a little bit on flower care from the farmer herself so you can enjoy your beautiful blossoms as long as possible. Your flowers were picked within a day or so of when you get them, so hopefully they should last almost a whole week with the proper care!

  • Display the flowers out of direct sunlight in your house.
  • Keep the stems fully submerged in water, and refill often (more often during the first day or two.)
  • After 2-3 days, re-cut the stems at an angle and refresh the water, and rinse the vase or jar.
  • If any leaves fall below the water line after trimming the stems, remove them from the stem so they don't add mold to the water.

Large & Small "Happiness Bouquets" are available via Special Order , and Allyson will be hosting weekly pop-ups at different stops (we'll keep you posted on Social Media.)

Want to read more about Farmstead Blooms and how she got started? Click here to check our Summer 2018 Newsletter Week 7 .
Featured Product
PIZZA DOUGH BALLS

We have everything in your shares this week for some glorious pizzas: tomato & basil, grilled peach & onions, spicy pork and hot peppers, ratatouille pie.... get creative with our 2-pack of pizza dough!

For step-by-step instructions, click here for our Pizza Guide (pro-tip: use lots of cornmeal as you prep so the pizza slides easily into the oven!)
To make your own pizza sauce at home, check out Parker's recipe . For more recipe inspiration, look at our Pinterest Board filled with hundreds of pizza and flatbread ideas.

$5 per dough ball pack (2)
Aden and the team down at Wholesome Valley Farm harvesting the Cantaloupe last week.
Bag Contents
THE MINI
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
SMALL OMNIVORE
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
Basil - 1 bunch
Hot Hungarian Peppers - 3
Carrots - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - 1.5#
Ground Beef - 1#
LARGE OMNIVORE
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
Basil - 1 bunch
Hot Hungarian Peppers - 3
Carrots - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - 1.5#
Ground Beef - 1#
Peaches - 5 to 6
Collard Greens
Salt & Pepper Pork Sausage - 1#
SMALL VEGETARIAN
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
Basil - 1 bunch
Hot Hungarian Peppers - 3
Carrots - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - 1.5#
Eggplant
Peaches - 5 to 6
LARGE VEGETARIAN
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
Basil - 1 bunch
Hot Hungarian Peppers - 3
Carrots - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - 1.5#
Eggplant 
Peaches - 10-12 (double)
Collard Greens
Cherry Tomatoes - 1 pt
Extra fruit! (Depending on the harvest this week, Melon or Berries)
VEGAN
Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash 
Sweet Corn - 4
Green Peppers - 2
Onion
Basil - 1 bunch
Hot Hungarian Peppers - 3
Carrots - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - 1.5#
Eggplant 
Peaches - 5 to 6


Recipes featuring this week's share ingredients
Ingredients from share: tomatoes, onions, basil
Ingredients from share: spaghetti squash, beef or pork, tomatoes, onion, green peppers
Ingredients from share: Eggplant, Hot Hungarian Pepper, Green Peppers, Basil & Cherry Tomatoes
Ingredients from share: sweet corn, onions, carrots
For more of our recipes, click here .
More recipes online
OUR FAMILY OF COMPANIES