An Adventure with Specialty Melons

Emmalea Ernest, Extension Fruit & Vegetable Specialist;

In 2019 I tested 28 varieties of specialty melons for yield and quality characteristics. This trial included familiar types like honeydew, canary and galia melons, but also some less familiar types like Hami melons and sweet & sour melons. If you direct market through a farm stand or farmer’s market, unique specialty melons can be a draw for customers. I did several tasting events with the melons from this trial and participants were intrigued by the unique flavors and appearances of familiar and unfamiliar specialty melons.

Shiney Green and New Moon Varieties

‘Shiny Green’ and ‘New Moon’ were the highest yielding honeydew melons and had the highest brix among the honeydews.

Halo, Camino, Camposol Varieties

The top yielding canary melons were ‘Halo’, ‘Camino Europa’ and ‘Camposol’. All three varieties produced high yields and had average brix of 12.0 or higher.

Passport and Visa Varieties

‘Passport’ and ‘Visa’ were not the highest yielding galia melons, but they were the only ones with average brix above 10.0.

Bonny and Melemon Varities

‘Bonny’ and ‘Melemon’ are sweet & sour melons that had very high yields and a flavor that was appealing to many taste testers.

Golden Aroma Varieties

‘Golden Aroma’ is a Hami melon that had very high yields and unique flavor and texture. Golden Aroma has crisp orange flesh with a texture similar to an Asian pear. The flavor is sweet and creamy. This variety took longer to mature, with melons ripening in early and mid-August from a May 23 transplant.

Flourish Red Aroma and Miracle Varieties

‘Flourish’, ‘Red Aroma’ and ‘Miracle’ were non-slip netted melons with good yields, firm flesh, and very sweet flavor. These varieties also matured in early and mid-August. Flavor and appearance are similar to firm fleshed cantaloupes, but the melons do not slip when ripe and have better storage potential.

I also tested two Charentais type varieties, ‘Aspire’ and ‘D’Artagnan’. Both failed to produce acceptable marketable yields because of excessive cracking; a common problem with Charentais melons in our climate.

Most of the galia and canary melon varieties mentioned here are available from multiple suppliers. ‘Halo’ canary and the honeydew, sweet & sour, Hami, and non-slip netted melon varieties are from Known-You Seed.