C is for Melons: Charentais, Cream of Saskatchewan, Crenshaw, and Chamoe (Moon and Stars, too)
We wanted to give you a little update on the melons that are starting to arrive at markets. We try to wait for them to fully ripen on the vine so they're ready and tasty when you get them, but if anything, we may give you the "wait a day" advice on some of them.
In addition to losing most of our sweet corn to four-legged pests, we've also lost some melons and other plants to hail in the last week. We did get some rain though, and that has helped our plants significantly.
We have many varieties, all of them exciting to try, and we've enjoyed the taste of all our new kinds. We try to select more for taste than for long distance transportation or long time storage, and we think it pays off when the melon touches your taste buds.
One of the most photogenic varieties is the Moon and Stars watermelon, a big, beautiful plant with yellow-speckled leaves and yellow-speckled fruits, too. We lead with this one because it is just stunning to see out in the field.
Moon and Stars
The Moon and Stars were mimicking last night's full moon and the Perseid meteor shower, which we thought was quite appropriate.
Many of the rest of our melons begin with C today. Of course we love cookies at Muddy Pumpkin Farms, but just now we were thinking that the next time you want a bit of local and healthy refreshment on a warm South Dakota day, remember that C is for melon, and not just for cookie. That's part of eating with the seasons, too, and we're all for that.
Moroccan Charentais (USDA Trial)
We don't have much information on this melon since it is a trial from the USDA, but we're told it's a Moroccan Charentais, and we're excited to try it. The more expected look of a Charentais melon is the following.
Charentais melons were developed by the French, and are now most often grown in northern Africa. They are a so-called refined cantaloupe, and it'll be a treat to eat them here in South Dakota since "Charentais production in America is limited."
Cream (of) Saskatchewan
Cream (of) Saskatchewan is going to be a difficult melon to get to our friends at the markets, but we're going to try, and it may be a good choice for you to pick up on your next visit to the farm. This is a Russian heirloom, brought to the western Canadian prairie and thriving here in the long days of South Dakota.
If you haven't already noticed, melons come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and the same goes for their fruit. The diversity of colored fruit is amazing, just in this short selection of melons. And the outside colors range from greens (dark and light) to yellow with white stripes (and even green with yellow stars) to grey to orange. And if you're used to spherical and oval shaped melons, you'll enjoy the oblong ones and the Crenshaw's teardrop shape.
This Crenshaw melon isn't quite ready--it'll probably be turning yellow in 3-7 days. Crenshaws are one of the most sought after melons for their great taste. People just rave about them, and we're excited to let you give them a try this year. Check out this site with nutrition information for Crenshaw melons, along with a video at the bottom describing when they're ripe. I hear they are both sweet and spicy, which sounds fantastic.
We do have some ripe Galia melons now, and the first picture of Galias are the green, unripened ones, followed by the yellow ripe one that I picked just after taking its picture.
Ripe Galia Melon
Galias are one of our earlier melons, and they taste great. Look for them at markets this coming week. Our Chamberlain-Oacoma CSA shares received a Sun Jewel melon on Saturday, and some market-goers in Rapid City got the chance to purchase them, too. Sun Jewel is an Asian melon, which was bred from these Korean Chamoe melons, which in East Asia get sold in boxes or plastic wrapped pairs.
Korean Chamoe Melon
So there's a visual taste of some of the melons headed your way in coming weeks. We expect to have Galias available this week, but come early to the markets. We may even have a few choice Moon and Stars watermelons for those who want a little bit of nature's art: a sight to see and a taste to savor.