Armenian cucumbers look like cucumbers and taste like cucumbers, but they belong to the muskmelon family.
"It's such a freak," says John Warren of Spade and Clover Garden, who's growing 40 Armenian cucumber plants on his plot at Dirt Works Incubator Farm. He added the seeds to his online cart when ordering sweet potato slips.
Warren grows many standard vegetables, such as leeks and cabbage, but he has a special fondness for Asian crops. This year, he's also growing small, round white-fleshed Tigger melons, which he selected for their bright red stripes.
Like the melons, Armenian cucumbers originated in Armenia, as their name suggests. (Their alternate name, snake cucumbers, alludes to the way they undulate when they reach their peak flavor length of about one foot. They'll grow to three feet if left unharvested.) Now they're grown in greater abundance in California, but the fruit-which doesn't require any peeling -- is still considered fairly exotic. The wrinkly-skinned cucumber is sweeter than standard cucumbers, and especially suitable for salads.
The cucumbers should soon reach Warren's stand at the farmers market - so long as disease doesn't take them down first.
"I do have mosaic leaf virus, so I'm kind of in a race against time," he says.
For more information about Warren's operation, visit facebook.com/SpadeandClover.