The Saturday before we traveled to England, I found myself easily able to predict what fruit we'd find at the farmers' market, and planned accordingly. Then we went away for two weekends and returned to multiple unrecognizable varieties of melons. After suffering through a melon salad on the airplane that managed to taste both bland AND cloyingly sweet, I was reminded why melon is one of the few fruits I don't actively seek out.
While I do enjoy eating watermelon in the summer, especially outdoors for easy seed disposal, I'm frequently let down by inconsistent flavor and, until a few weeks ago, the lack of variety.
Groundworks Organics is currently selling nine different melon varieties, all of varying shapes, sizes, weights, and attractiveness. The margarita melon is the most visually appealing, between its smooth skin and lovely yellow hue. Based on outward appearance alone, the charentais melon ties the carosello barese for the prize of oddest and--not to mince words--ugliest.
I bought one of each, brought them home, photographed them, and took tasting notes. I've since purchased several of the melon varieties listed below, and have found the flavors have already changed slightly. Depending on their position in their respective growing season, the taste has become more concentrated or more watery.
What follows is a description of each melon, along with my taste reactions!
What: A watermelon variety with a quick maturation (65 days, in many cases)
Appearance: Looks larger and less dark than some melons; full of seeds on the interior
Taste: My version tasted bland and dense; it should taste slightly tart and refreshing
What: This melon was first cultivated in Iran 5,000 years ago; also known as rock melon
Appearance: Familiar, tiny round bumps/ridges on a tannish rind
Taste: Juicy, sweet, tropical; reminiscient of creme brûlée
What: An unusual melon variety with limited distribution
Appearance: A gorgeous rich yellow with a smooth rind
Taste: Similar to honeydew; silky, juicy, and velvety
What: "Honeydew" is the American name for the White Antibes cultivar
Appearance: yellow exterior with a few 'vines' and ridges; spherical
Taste: Sweet, like coconut
What: A melon variety with a very thin outer rind
Appearance: Lemon, wax-like coating on the exterior
Taste: Caramel; syrupy, like something sugary was added (true to its name!)
What: A French cantaloupe, originating from the Poitou-Charentes region around 1920
Appearance: A nearly even circle with a gnarly, gourd-like exterior
Taste: The most condensed sweet flavor of all nine melons tasted: if you closed your eyes and bit in, you'd think, "this is what a melon should taste like"
What: A watermelon variety, named for its tangerine colored interior
Appearance: Its exterior resembles a dark watermelon
Taste: Watery, watermelon-'lite', honey-like on certain bites
What: A watermelon variety with a thin, tough rind
Appearance: Light green exterior; long light colored stripes
Taste: Like a concentrated watermelon; very tender
What: An Italian variety that's popular in Puglia. A member of the melon family; if harvested young, will taste more like a cucumber
Appearance: An extremely long, pale fuzzy cucumber; interior is pulpy
Taste: Very sour (an earlier harvest might have changed my opinion from dislike to intrigue)