9.06.2012

The Local Food Report: Emerald gems

How about this! for a melon seed description: "Altogether un-approached in flavor and luscious beyond belief." 

The review comes from an old Burpee's customer—someone back in the late 1800s, when the Emerald Gem you see up there was first released. W. Atlee Burpee got the seed from a farmer in Benzie County, Michigan in 1886, and word of the delicious melon spread like wildfire.

My friend Victoria's growing it this year, and she chose it for its flavor and for more practical reasons—it's a fast growing melon, and one that doesn't need a lot of space. We've got a short season and she's got a small garden, so she figured why not? So she planted it underneath her tomato vines, and now that they're dying back, it's growing up. 

The melons are tiny—2 or 3 pounds each, and they look like miniature ribbed cantaloupes. The smell is amazing—sweet, earthy, musky, even. (That comparison, of course, is where muskmelons get their name.) The flesh is a deep wild-salmon orange, and the taste is incredibly sweet. Kids were eating them at the market last week with spoons, slurping the juice out where it pooled in the bottom. 

If you ask me, they're a keeper.

2 comments :

Alison | a girl defloured said...

Those look amazing. I'm having trouble with my melons this year...the blossoms are dropping. Sigh. Guess I'll have to stick to what I get from the FM...and maybe give these a go next year.

Hope you are well!

Elspeth said...

Hi Alison,

I've tried melons once (last year) and didn't have any luck. They all died off just about as soon as they came up. I think I'm going to try these next year, though, as they've done so well for Victoria!

All the best,
Elspeth

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