In the beginning, I wasn't sure we were going to have a successful garden this year. The late freeze, the abnormally cool weather combined with the frequent rains made starting a garden a true challenge this year. We start our garden from heirloom seeds every year. Heirloom seeds are different than the seeds you would normally find at your local Wally World or Home Depot. These are seeds that are harvested because of their original genetic attributes. Unlike hybridized seeds, they don't always produce the abundant crop you might wish for (although we've always had excess production thanks to our pollinators, the bees) . Heirlooms are usually known for their hardiness, taste, and uniqueness. Additionally, I recently read an article in Mother Earth News noting an additional characteristic of heirloom varieties. Apparently, while scientists have been working hard to produce hybridized crops that are high producers with the ability to fight off certain diseases (which can be easily done economically and organically if needed by the way), they are breeding OUT the nutrional value of our fruits, vegetables, and grains. Oh happy day. In some cases, the nutritional value of the newer varieties have been depleted by 50-70%. AND, some of these seeds have nasty little chemicals in and on them (genetically imbedded) that cause harm to our friendly little pollinators (and probably we humans as well).
So, without further adieu, I present to you, the mystery melon. Apparently, we had a hitchhiker seed added to our cantaloupe seed packet we had ordered. Charlie and I have already figured out what this melon is, and have harvested one of them (Actually two.....one was picked prematurely, thinking it was a watermelon perhaps). In addition to the picture, I will give you a few clues. The first person to guess what kind of melon this is will win a genuine organic Ararat Acres cantaloupe (quite tasty I might add). Unfortunately, this contest is only valid for local participants....I doubt the cantaloupe will ship well :).
In addition to the pictures, here are your clues:
1. It is an heirloom variety
2. The ready to pick fruit frequently weighs 8-10lbs
3. When ready, the fruit will turn from dark green to a deep yellow, with a light orange meat.
4. If you cannot tell in the picture, the not ready fruit is lightly fuzzy, with deep grooves and bumps.
5. The seeds date <1800's.
Good Luck! I'm looking forward to deliver a cantaloupe to someone soon.