Friday, August 31, 2012

Too Many Melons - Sunday of the Month

This summer has been one of the warmest in my memory, and unlike the rest of the Midwest, in this part of Minnesota we’ve had enough rain. Our garden has grown enthusiastically as a result. We’ve harvested one or two succulent ears off of every corn plant. The cabbage and broccoli have grown faster than the cabbage worms. The carrots are fat and orange.

The warmth this summer has given our melons a boost and they win first prize for productivity and taste. Dave planted two varieties of watermelon and three of cantaloupe and when we are patient enough to wait until they are completely ripe, the melons are magnificent. Most summers, about the time we figure out what a ripe cantaloupe looks like, we’ve eaten them all – green.

This year we have enough melons for our learning curve to flatten out. The cantaloupe are ripe when the background color behind the netting is a warm beige, not a light green. The watermelon are ripe when there is a small yellow spot on the bottom of the fruit and when the little twisty vines at the stem end of the fruit are dry.

We serve the watermelon plain, with mint and feta cheese, and with tomatoes.
When Dave cuts into a ripe melon, the scent fills the room and my mouth begins to water. Today we had one cantaloupe for breakfast and two different cantaloupe and a watermelon for lunch. Tonight we had cantaloupe shakes for dessert. On the off chance that we can’t eat or give away the melons fast enough, I freeze cantaloupe for shakes later in the year. There is no such thing as too much melon.

Cantaloupe Shakes

1 medium ripe cantaloupe, diced – about 5 cups
2 T lemon juice
2 T sugar
¾ c milk
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Blend cantaloupe, lemon juice, sugar and milk until smooth. Add ice cream. Blend again. Serve with a long handled spoon. Serves 4.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Selling wool

Sales are not my forté. I sell lambs with reluctance. I have a web page that is slowly bringing in new wool customers, but I sell most of my wool to people who come to my house for two fiber days a year. I’m not very good at pricing or advertising.

Last year I joined the Mercantile on Main, a limited liability partnership, because it sounded like a good way to sell my yarn, my roving, and my books. Each of the members has different strengths – some keep the records, others work on advertising. A few are great at display, while others work on legal documents. Somehow it all works and it has been so much fun!

A year after we first opened our shop in an old gas station, eighteen women and one man signed their names to a deed of sale and bought the old municipal liquor store in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. We renovated the building – ripped down interior walls and floors, replaced ceiling and plumbing, added a window, and then filled the space to bursting with interesting things.

The Mercantile on Main sells all kinds of items just like an old-fashioned mercantile. We have Asian groceries, antiques, fabric and sewing supplies, collectibles, hand made jewelry, silver jewelry, hand made clothing and toys, art and art supplies, crafts, farm raised beef and poultry, Tervis Tumblers™, soaps, candles, cookbooks, wool roving, yarn, and knitting supplies, as well as my books.

The hard part about being a partner at the Mercantile on Main is that I have to work at the store two to three days a month, just like every other partner. The great part is that I sell my books, yarn, and roving year round. The best part is that I have gotten to know an incredible group of people who encourage each other. With their help, I’m getting better at pricing and beginning to enjoy selling.