We all love a great melon. There is an art to to ripening it correctly and picking it at just the right time. here's what we aim for...
When the melon reaches the right size we cut off the water to the plant. Over the next two to three weeks it ripens nicely. To gauge when to pick each melon variety is a little different. If you lift the melon slightly and gently it will detach it self from the vine, it is said to 'slip'. Smelling the melon for that sweet fragrance is another indicator. Color is almost always the first sign that the melon is ripening.
The right level of ripeness depends on who is the customer, how far it has to travel and how long do they expect to keep it before it is sold or consumed. An common but extreme example is one that is picked just as it starts to show the first signs of ripening place on a truck and sent across the country to a supermarket distribution center. These melons have to hold up for 2 to 3 weeks. For Eatwell Farm members the melon is left in the field until the peak of ripeness, picked and then delivered in their box. We say we dare to pick our fruit ripe. If the fruit is a little over ripe and then the truck hits a pot hole on the freeway we can have a melon breakdown on our hands. We hope and do most of the time get it right. We try to grow melons for different tastes so some you will like more than others. It would be easy to find a melon that most people liked and stick with it but that just would get a little too boring.
In the field two weeks ago we had our melon patch accidentally irrigated with sprinklers. The water was intended for the newly planted fall broccoli but the protection guards on the sprinkler heads were not in place so the melons in the next beds got water too. A ripe melon that has been irrigated with sprinklers is not a tasty one. Ricardo is our new irrigation manager he worked by the side of Arturo last years who has over 14 years experience at Eatwell Farm. Arturo retired last year so this is Ricardo's first year on his own and he made an honest mistake. We apologies for this.
Molly has all the melon varieties on the website so you can look up the melon you are eating and rate it for us. Let us know which one's you would like us to grow next year. It is all about communication and community. We will grow the varieties that you all like and throw you a curve ball every now and again to see if you are all awake.
Enjoy the bounty... Nigel