'Cumber Bond

Two heirloom finds are cool as cucumbers

Peaches may be hogging the glory at farmers' markets right now, but there's another golden, sweet fruit on the scene: cucumbers.

Two heirloom varieties of the slender gourd bring new flavor–and bright color–to the tea-sandwich standard.

With its burnished golden skin, the Fallen Poona Khera (pictured) looks more like a russet potato than a standard cuke. Grown by Whitmore Farm, the cucumber–of Asian-Indian heritage–is mild and sweet in flesh and skin (unlike its bitter common cousins, which are usually peeled before serving).

At Buck's Fishing & Camping, chef Vickie Reh slices unpeeled Fallen Poona Kherras into a simple green salad ($11), and makes it the star of her cucumber soup ($8; click here for the recipe). She also likes to dress them simply, with rice wine vinegar, to accent their sweetness.

At Smallwood's Veggieporium, the orblike Lemon Cucumber–named for its shape, not its taste–looks more like a tennis ball than a cucumber. This crisp, juicy variety appears in a feta and octopus salad ($12) at Foggy Bottom's Ris. The farmers at Smallwood recommend slicing it to serve in place of chips, with hummus.

Buy Fallen Poona Khera cucumbers at Whitmore Farm, and lemon cucumbers at Smallwood's Veggieporium, both at the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers' Market on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Wisconsin and 34th sts. NW; dcgreens.org