Late August at the Franklin Farmers Market is an exceptional time for creating light meals such as a refreshing watermelon salad with arugula and feta. The sweetness of crisp Tennessee watermelon and the salty tang of feta pairs pleasantly with the peppery bite of arugula harvested fresh from the farm. Toss all these local ingredients with Tennessee honey, fresh mint, and lime, and you have a late-summer salad that really beats the heat.
Browsing for fresh melons at the Franklin Farmers Market is easy with farmers such as Stacy and Sonia Geny of Paradise Produce. This farm offers more than four types of organic summer melons, all of different flavors, colors, and textures. Their yellow watermelon is not only juicy and sweet, but crisp enough to enhance the texture of this watermelon salad with arugula and feta. Once sliced and de-seed, it’s ready to be tossed in a tangy dressing with fresh greens or lettuces.
When searching for fresh, local salad lettuces and greens, Norton Family Farms offers the largest selection of baby salad mix, arugula, kale, spinach, and more. Their tender yet spicy arugula is so fresh and fragrant, it makes a nice match for the sweet flavor of cool yellow watermelon. In fact, any of Norton Family Farms’ greens work well in this summer salad.
There’s nothing quite like feta to add the perfect amount of salty tang to a watermelon salad, and Noble Springs Dairy 100% goat’s milk feta really hits the mark. These goats forage on natural pastures in the same style as European dairies have for centuries, imparting unique flavors to the milk that make their artisanal cheese collections. Plus, the crumbly yet creamy texture of their feta leaves salad dotted with salty goodness throughout.
For the finishing touches, this watermelon salad with arugula and feta is tossed in a bright, citrusy-sweet dressing filled with fresh mint and hot pepper from Bloomsbury Farm, plus a dollop of Johnson’s local wildflower honey. Toss on a handful of toasted almonds, and you have a well-balanced profile to fulfill a Tennessee summer craving. Sweet, fresh, juicy, green, and bright — all the flavors of late-summer at the Franklin Farmers Market.
Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta
2 cups diced Paradise Produce yellow watermelon
2 cups tightly-packed Norton Family Farms arugula
4oz package Noble Springs Dairy feta
Toasted almonds or any other nut for garnish (optional)
1 juicy lime, juiced and zested
1-2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (grapeseed oil would be nice, too)
1 Tablespoon Johnson’s wildflower honey
2 large tablespoons chopped Bloomsbury Farm fresh mint leaves (almost 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno or poblano, seeds removed
pinch of salt and lots of shakes of black pepper
Prepare dressing in separate bowl. Combine all ingredients. Toss and serve.