Friday, August 14, 2009

Muskmelon or Cantalope?

One thing I have truly loved since I was a child is Muskmelon. My mom used to buy it for us all the time and I always thought the term Muskmelon was a 'slang' name - like a nickname for Cantalope. (although I am not sure how those two names come even close to each other?) I also thought that my mother must be wrong because she was the only one I had ever heard call this melon a muskmelon.

Monika Rastapkevicius from R-Grow Farms of West Lorne has FINALLY set the record straight. (Sorry Mom - you were right all along!) Following is some information about the orange melon that you might also find useful. Visit Monika and her kids Anita and Joe this weekend at the RGrow stall in the North pavilion, for free samples of Muskmelon.
Most often what people refer to as a cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon. True cantaloupes are not netted , have deep grooves, a hard warty rind and orange or green flesh. These true cantaloupes are grown only in Europe. The muskmelons that most of us call cantaloupes have a distinct netted or webbed rind. Muskmelons have been masquerading as cantaloupes in our stores for many years. Did you know the muskmelon is so named because of the odor of the ripe fruit? Musk is a persian word for a kind of perfume and melon is french.It's interesting to watch people decide whether or not a muskmelons is ripe......they smell it, they squeeze it, they push on the end of it, they shake it next to their ear.....but actually they rarely look at the stem end of it. I try to explain to as many people as I can, what they need to look for. I ask them to look at the "belly button" of the melon. This is the point of attachment between the fruit and the vine it has come from. If the melon was picked ripe the vine lets go of the fruit easily. This is called being picked at " full slip." When a melon is picked at "full slip" and the cirlce of the "belly button" is complete. If the cirlce is incomplete or some of the stem from the vine remains attached the melon was forced of the vine before it was truly ripe. This info always generates the reaction " hey , I learned something new today". I think as vendors we need to teach our consumers the things they need to look for.

A few other melon facts.....
1. Always store a ripe melon in the fridge to maintain internal fruit quality

2. Melons can be frozen...great with other friut to make smoothies ( strawberries and melon are my personal favourite) just chop them up and put into a freezer bag or container

3. Melons are one of the top 10 antioxident foods. The bright orange colour of the muskmelon is a dead giveaway that they are loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Muskmelons are alos high in vitamin C and a food source of potassium and folate.

Now that summer is in full swing, enjoy a healthy, flavourful and satisfying snack. Think melons.

Thanks Monika for the extremely useful information - I learned a few new things today!

This weekend at the market promises to be a warm one! We will have fans a blowing in the main building. Visit the FRESHFEST booth in the main building as this is their last weekend at the market. Purchase your tickets for this funfilled event happening August 20th at the CASO station. The Horton Farmers Market will have a booth at this event and some of the farmers from the market are also participating. Tickets are $25 each in advance or $30 at the door. For more info visit their site.
We have a few more 'sample' days planned and will be posting information on the boards inside the building at the back. Your input and ideas are always welcome! I have received so much feedback and have been able to see positive change at the market directly from your input. Many Thanks to you all who are reading and attending the market.
See you soon,
Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

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