The Politics of Melon

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rich Sweetness 123 Melon
It's got nothing on the Politics of Dancing, but it sure does taste better!

It's that special time of year when the summer garden that you've carefully tended weekend in and weekend out begins to pay off here and there with some interesting surprises. As the wife that is Venus knows, I like to mix things up a bit from year to year. Why keep growing the same type of tomato, onion, carrot or any other vegetable for that matter, when there are so many interesting other possibilities?

Case in point? The photo directly to your right. I call it the "Fiona Ma" melon -- when in reality -- it's not. But the seeds did come from Fiona Ma, who represents the 12th Assembly District in the California State Assembly and is also a candidate for Board of Equalization, District 1. This is indeed a melon, but it's like no melon I've ever seen or tasted. And it's putting on a bright orange and yellow striped show in the Bird Back 40 this year.

CA Assemblymember Fiona Ma
The seeds for this unique melon actually come from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but Assemblymember Ma was promoting "agricultural sustainability" while giving away packets of this melon seed during a recent Democrat event attended by my left-leaning, Democrat brother.

What did my brother do with this particular gift? He gave it to his right-leaning, Republican brother who gardens, which just goes to show that "agricultural sustainability" doesn't exactly fall within rigid party lines. Besides, my brother wouldn't know what "agricultural sustainability" was unless it was bottled, packaged and sold on a shelf at Trader Joe's.

Pocket Sized Melons with a Punch
Baker Creek markets this little gem of a melon as the Rich Sweetness 123 melon. The online catalog description says: "Incredible little melons from the former Soviet Union. The fruit are a beautiful red, striped with golden yellow and weigh only about ¼ lb! The flesh is pure white and quite sweet. These have a very refreshing taste and are very fragrant. One of the best new varieties we’ve discovered in the last few years."

This little gem of a melon plus many others are putting on an August show to remember in the Bird Back 40. It is indeed fresh melon season in Northern California. And the seeds that the wife that is Venus and I carefully sowed last spring are now producing tasty melons in all shapes and sizes.

Sangria Watermelon
Not everything is a success in the melon patch, of course. What in gardening is? I am missing out on some of the larger, whopper sized watermelons that I planted earlier this year. But who needs whopper sized melons when the Sangria is popping watermelons in the shape of a small bowling pin?

And then there's that "mystery melon." What is it? I don't know! It's a "mystery." But it sure does taste good! Venus seems to think it's some sort of a crenshaw variety, but there's just one eensy-teensy problem with that. See, I don't remember planting crenshaw melon seeds. It might be a crenshaw! It might not! What I can tell you with all honesty is this: it's darn tasty.

"Mystery Melon"
I suppose it could also be a casaba melon. But there's just one eensy-teensy problem with that as well. See, I don't remember planting casaba melon seeds. Hmm....My memory is slipping (the wife is not surprised).

Combine this sudden richness of melon crops with fresh O'Henry peaches and table grapes that are putting on a bang-up show -- and you've got a fruit salad fit for any king or queen. And, try as I might, I never can really get tired of eating fruit procured from the numerous trees and vines sprouting in the backyard.

Melons, Grapes and Peaches: Oh My!
I don't know if I'm really promoting "agricultural sustainability" or not. I don't think of it in that way. I tend to simplify things a bit more. My way of thinking goes like this: I like melon. I plant melon. If someone wants to put a label of "agricultural sustainability" on Venus and I are doing -- that's fine I suppose.

Just as long as I get the fruit salad payoff.