Montana’s signature summer time watermelon salad recipe

John Binion for Lee Montana Newspapers

In the case of meals, peaches are synonymous with Georgia, potatoes with Idaho, and bourbon with Kentucky. For Dixon, Montana, they’ve made a reputation for themselves with their high-quality watermelon selection that could be a summer time favourite in Large Sky Nation.

If you first hear about Dixon watermelon, it might make anybody surprise how such a selected crop can thrive and turn out to be so well-liked in a seemingly unlikely area. That’s, till you go to Dixon Melons part-owner Cassie Silvernale, who says this enclave in northwest Montana has the proper microclimate for rising scrumptious watermelons.

Dixon's Summer Watermelon Salad

On this recipe, watermelon is joined by some co-stars who convey different components to the desk. Feta is a well-liked mixture with watermelon that brings a little bit of creamy saltiness. Mint and basil present complicated natural aromas. So as to add veggies (it is a salad in spite of everything) that weren’t too candy, I introduced in cucumbers.

John Bennion

Cassie has been working at Dixon Melons since 2005 and is now half proprietor together with her husband, Faus. Dixon Melons is primarily a household operation. This concept started within the Eighties by Harley and Joey Hetek, who determined to develop a small patch of cantaloupe of their backyard to see how they might do it. They continued to develop extra every season till it become a business operation, producing watermelons to promote at grocery shops and farmers markets for a watermelon season that lasts about six weeks.

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I first heard about Dixon Melons once I turned a daily at farmers markets throughout Montana, particularly in case you had been in Missoula, Helena, Butte, Bozeman, and Columbia Falls. A flatbed truck filled with pure, aromatic sunshine can pull as much as the nook level and thus have an extended type of Montanans who know the standard of those treasures. I went to the Helena Farmers Market final August and fortunately stood in a kind of traces that wrap round a whole metropolis block. Well worth the wait!

For individuals who aren’t within the distribution space, however are prepared to make the watermelon season pilgrimage to Dixon, the household plans to arrange its first farm stand this summer time to promote some on to customers.

Dixon watermelon

Dixon, Montana, has made a reputation for itself with its number of high-quality watermelons which are a summer time favourite in Large Sky Nation.

John Bennion

So when is Dixon watermelon season? Like all rising season — particularly in Montana’s wilderness local weather — the start and finish can differ from yr to yr. The earliest the watermelon was picked was July 20 one yr, nevertheless it is also the second week of August earlier than it is prepared. On the whole, they get about six weeks of choosing and promoting watermelons all through the state.

For Cassie’s household, this time of yr means lengthy days and touring lengthy distances throughout the state. When the season is in full swing, “we’re fortunate to even have dinner that point of yr,” Casey defined. So typically they dine on easy watermelon wrapped in prosciutto.

Watching the household enterprise develop has been virtually surreal. “Dixon Melons is our livelihood and helps our household,” Casey stated. However she additionally defined how proud it’s to supply one thing that’s so wanted in our state.

“When that line will get to the (farmers market), that is why we labored so arduous.”

Final summer time, I took a number of of those melons and created a scrumptious dish that would function a gap salad course with a candy and salty edge or a really mild dessert. Watermelon is joined by some co-stars who convey different components to the desk. Feta is a well-liked mixture with watermelon that brings a little bit of creamy saltiness. Mint and basil present complicated natural aromas. So as to add veggies (it is a salad in spite of everything) that weren’t too candy, I introduced in cucumbers. It is one thing you may additionally have the ability to get at a farmers market.

Dixon watermelon

At farmers markets throughout western Montana, a Dixon Mellon flatbed truck stuffed with pure, aromatic sunshine usually attracts an extended line of Montanans who know the standard of the prized fruit.

John Bennion

It wanted texture, so I selected my favourite nut – pistachios. To tie all of it collectively, I made a dressing with lemon, additional virgin olive oil, honey, and peanut butter. If you cannot discover peanut butter (it is often in the identical aisle as peanut butter on the retailer), you’ll be able to substitute it with tahini.

To assemble the salad, you will discover much less course within the recipe with regards to ingredient measurement and proportions apart from the dressing. That is how one can customise it to your style. You possibly can see how I did it within the picture, however let your personal style information the proportions. Blissful summer time, Montana!

Dixon’s Summer time Watermelon Salad

1 tablespoon peanut butter or tahini

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

In a bowl, combine peanut butter (or tahini), honey, and lemon juice and stir properly till the components are blended. Slowly add olive oil, whisking always till blended. Add slightly salt and stir.

Take away the peels from cantaloupe and watermelon and minimize them into small items. Peel many of the cucumber (depart slightly inexperienced for coloration) and minimize into bite-sized items, much like watermelon and cantaloupe. Roughly chop some contemporary mint and basil. Peel your pistachios and minimize them into small items.

Assemble the watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumber combination in your plate and drizzle with the sauce. High along with your favourite mixture of small crumbles of feta cheese, chopped pistachios, chopped mint and basil.

Dixon's Summer Watermelon Salad

This scrumptious dish will be served both as a gap salad with a candy and salty twist or as a really mild dessert.

John Bennion

John Binion is a Montana native, born and raised in Billings. Exterior of his day job as an lawyer, you could find John experimenting within the kitchen and creating recipes that always characteristic a Montana ingredient or story. John posts on Instagram as Intermediate Chef (@intermediatechef) and lives in Clancy.

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