If you like melons, you will probably like to maximize the variety of different kinds of melon you can eat. In most Canadian grocery stores, there are only a few kinds of melon you can find:
- cantaloupe and muskmelon – sweet melons with orange flesh and a netted skin
- honeydew melon – green melons with smooth skin and subtle flavour
- watermelon – large or small, now available in seedless varieties and also with yellow or orange flesh
But if you look into an heirloom seed catalogue, you will quickly learn that there are many, many different kinds of melon. Most will not be found at the grocer’s – and some you may not even see at the farmers market. You must grow your own if you want to try things like the Crenshaw melon, Amish melon, or Galia melon. We are fortunate to have many online heirloom seed suppliers, so it’s pretty easy to find those melon seeds if you decide you want to try them out in your own garden.
The cool thing about looking at those heirloom vegetable seeds in the online stories is you will learn about plants you never knew existed. For example, did you know there is a kind of cantaloupe that was developed in Montreal? It’s a really, really big melon that looks like a cantaloupe on the outside. But inside, its flesh is green like a honeydew. Pretty cool, isn’t it? It’s called the Montreal melon, short and sweet!
There is also another kind of melon named for a place in Quebec, and that’s the Oka Melon. It’s a cantaloupe with deep ridges and it’s a bit more flat at the ends, so it looks a little like a pumpkin.
Oka is just outside of Montreal, and there was a Trappist monastery in that place where the monks made Oka cheese and farmed. Another cool breed that was developed there is called the Chantecler chicken. It’s a white chicken that was bred especially for the colder weather in Canada. It is a “dual-purpose” chicken, meaning that it’s good for both laying eggs and giving us meat. If you like to raise chickens, you can get Chantecler chicks from a hatchery. But they are still very rare kinds of birds.
I think it’s amazing that there are all these different kinds of foods we can try. Not just exotic foods from far-away places but foods that come from close to home, even if we never did hear of them before. Did you ever look to see if there are special foods from your place, but that you can’t find at the grocery store?