ONE IN A MELON
Spend a day in the country at the cantaloupe festival.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTO BY PATRICK PHARRIS/PATRICK MEDIA
You often see it sliced, a lowly garnish to more exciting dishes, or tossed in summer fruit salads. But as you’ll discover this Labor Day weekend at the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair, you can enjoy this golden melon in plenty more interesting ways. Cantaloupe doughnut, anyone?
Now in its 31st year, the festival is a great opportunity to spend a day in the country, browsing around an abundant farmers’ market stocked with local produce, observing 4-H Club demonstrations, and devouring an impressive amount of locally grown Hearts of Gold cantaloupes.
The Fallon Festival Association merged the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival with the Country Fair for the first time last year, to bring both locals and visitors to town for a full weekend of celebrating the summer’s bounty. Visitors have the whole weekend to grab such unusual concoctions as cantaloupe daiquiris, beer, jam, and ice cream.
Vickie Detomasi, owner of Workman Farms in Fallon, says her mother even makes cantaloupe mustard, and once she tried cantaloupe wine, which, admittedly (and regrettably), tasted like squash. Whatever the end product, though, the family has been growing Hearts of Gold cantaloupe for more than 50 years and throughout several generations. Aside from the last two years, they have grown Hearts of Gold cantaloupes for every Fallon Cantaloupe Festival since the event started in 1985.
Amid the sea of cantaloupes, you’ll also find live entertainment, local art, children’s activities, and the annual Lion’s Club Junior-Rodeo and Labor Day Parade. The event also features a beer garden, often serving up cantaloupe sours from local breweries in the Reno-Tahoe area.
“We try and center the event on agriculture,” says Robyn Jordan, Fallon Festival Association communications coordinator. “It’s a day in the country. People get to interact with animals and go to the farmers’ market with produce that comes from just a few miles away.”
A lover of all fruit, Erin Meyering is eager to try cantaloupe in all forms, including cantaloupe cobbler, a cantaloupe-flavored snow cone, and even deep-fried cantaloupe.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair
Sept. 2 – 5
Churchill County Fairgrounds, 325 Sheckler Road, Fallon
For details, visit http://www.Falloncantaloupefestival.com
(courtesy of B.Ann Lattin, co-owner, Lattin Farms in Fallon. Serves 4)
Lattin Farms in Fallon has been growing hearts of gold cantaloupes for more than 50 years. Their melons are used by food vendors at the festival and they’re always sold fresh at the festival’s farmers’ market.
2 cups cantaloupe, ½-inch dice
2 cups tomatoes, cored and seeded, ½-inch dice
¼ cup onion, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or more, to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar (or more, to taste)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or more, to taste)
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
In large bowl, add cantaloupe, tomatoes, onion, and 1 tablespoon jalapeño. Add lime juice, orange juice, zest, sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss thoroughly so all flavors are well distributed.
Add basil right before serving and toss again. Taste for balance, adding more jalapeño, lime juice, sugar, or salt as needed.