By Deb Morris, PCFMA

You have just found a new variety of melon, not the usual watermelon or cantaloupe, but a lovely yellow melon with rippled rind. Or there is one that is small, oval, and green with white flesh.
Fortunately, there are many varieties of melons grown in California. In California, only California-grown produce may be certified for sale in our state’s farmers’ markets.
The most readily available are the honeydew, watermelon, and cantaloupe, but within these common melons are variations. For instance, watermelon can come in “refrigerator” sized (small and round), or with bright yellow flesh, rather than red.
Many specialty melons offer remarkable flavor, texture, and color. The Crenshaw, Persian, Sharlyn, Santa Claus, Casaba and the bittermelon, an Asian variety, plus a myriad of other varieties are available this summer. Each have slightly different rind and flesh colors, sizes, and sweetness.

10 Easy Ways to Serve Melon
1 Cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto, a sweet and salty bite that’s a long-time favorite. Or make a salad with cantaloupe chunks, prosciutto, and mozzarella balls.

2 Melon ball and feta salad. Get yourself a melon baller, or just cut melons in cubes, toss with crumbled feta, pickled red onion, olive oil, and lemon juice.

3 Melon Frozé. Blend melon and rosé wine

4Fruity Pizza With your favorite melon add ricotta cheese and top with fresh arugula.

5 Watermelon ice pops can be made by blending the flesh and honey or sugar, water, and lemon juice, a real tasty treat on a hot summer day.

6 Chilled cantaloupe soup, refreshing and sweet.

7 Honeydew Smoothie for the kids after school, or make an adult beverage out of it with a jigger of gin, rum, or vodka.

8 Honeydew and Cucumber Salad Toss them with red onion and feta or other salty cheese for a quick side salad.

9Honeydew or Casaba Melon wrapped with thinly sliced Lox. Another sweet/salty appetizer

10 Bittermelon is often overlooked as being too bitter, but in many cultures, it is used in stews, stir-fries, or soups. Talk with your farmer for some great recipes.

Watermelons harbor a colony of nutrients inside that thick outer rind, making them an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, thiamine, and vitamins C, A, and B6, per the National Watermelon Promotion Board. They also contain high amounts of citrulline, which may improve muscle mass, and lycopene for heart and skin health, explains WebMD.
There are many other ways to enjoy summer melons, but sometimes the easiest is the best, especially when you slice into a perfectly chilled melon.