Melon, Watermelon, Cucumber and Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad

When the temperature hits 90° or more, long-awaited local tomatoes start hitting the market. Under the shade of market pavilions, shoppers can take their pick of heirloom cherry tomatoes in a rainbow of colors bearing old-fashioned names like Super Snow White, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, and Honkin’ Big Black Cherry. Locally grown cucumbers, distinct from their supermarket cousins because they are not coated with wax, arrive in early summer. In our summer market salads, we like to experiment with the flavors of different cucumber varieties, like the round, yellow Lemon; the long, thin, pale Armenian; and the dark green, curling Serpent. A mix of tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon captures a wealth of summer tastes in a single dish.

Yield: 8–10 servings


  • ½ small seedless yellow or red watermelon, rind trimmed and flesh cut
  • into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled if the skin is thick or bitter and cut into ½-inch
  • cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint heirloom green, black or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
  • Zest of 1 lime, removed in wide strips
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure chile powder such as ancho or New Mexico


In a large serving bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Chop the lime zest into .-inch pieces and add to the salad. Add the lime and lemon juices and toss to coat evenly. Add the salt and chile powder and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours before serving. Serve chilled. From The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans (Mirabelle Press, 2012). Available wherever books are sold.

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