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Entertaining Gifts

Aug 4, 2014


Shh, please keep this on the down low, there might be hipsters lurking about, but just between you and I, there is vodka in this weeks recipe. audible gasp 

I threw caution to the wind and allowed the light, sweet, farm fresh melon that we got from Thames River Melons to be the star of this drink.

Yellow watermelon from Thames River Melons

A few years ago I started purchasing melons down at the Liberty Village Farmer's Market. I let the farmer there talk me into purchasing a melon I had never tried before. It was a Sugar Baby and it was the best melon I had ever eaten. I've been a fairly loyal devotee to Thames River ever since. Occasionally we still purchase a grocery store melon out of convenience but it never stands up to the quality, freshness and taste of what is grown just an hour down the highway.

My little guy and I went to the market a few weeks ago to pick up one of these amazing delights and we were informed that it had been too cold and they weren't ready.  We settled for some delicious corn instead and resolved to go to the farm the following week to get one.

A short drive out to Innerkip, Ontario proved to be well worth it. The farm has two plots, a main farm and a pick your own patch down the road that also serves as a retail outlet for all of the other amazing food they're growing. We ended up with the yellow watermelon, fresh corn and all of the raspberries and blueberries we picked. I'll be following up with some posts about those as well.

Lovely neighbor (in her eighties) who helps sell the produce.

We were given an impromptu tour of the farm by owner Robert Chesney.  It's an amazing operation and Mr. Chesney is not just a caretaker of the land but an ambassador of Canadian farming. He was also a very eager host, and informed me that you can go out and spend a day as a farm hand. They gladly teach anyone who is willing to come out and work. He is trying to connect urban consumers to their food. I can say that after my visit, I'll be purchasing from him as long as he's growing.

View across the main farm plot. 

The melon harvest should be in full swing right now, so there will be plenty to see and do at the farm. Call them ahead (519-469-3636and arrange a visit, they will love to have you and afterward you can take home your melon and make one of these delicious cocktails.

You might not live in Ontario, but get out and visit a farm near you. It's a great way to spend the day, gets you in touch with your food and it's enough work to qualify for a good drink after.

Summer on the Thames
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/4 oz dry vermouth (Martini)
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1/4 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh watermelon pieces (any colour)
2-3 drops lemon bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill 3/4 with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, double stain into a stemmed glass.

*An extra 1/4 oz of Vermouth could be used as a substitute for the Maraschino liqueur. It is however a worth while investment for your home bar, Maraschino is a frequently used (delicious) ingredient in both modern and classic drink recipes. 

Are you a farmer or do you know a great farm near you? Give people an opportunity to find it by listing the farm in the comments section.

Thank you to Robert Chesney for sharing his beautiful farm with us.

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