What would a slice of prosciutto be without the sweet juice of cantaloupe? Or a summer’s night without the refreshing finish of sliced honeydew? Or a picnic without the crescent smile of a ripe watermelon?

The melon has tempted taste buds since the reign of Egyptian pharaohs. Some of its earliest appearances include pre-biblical paintings as well as the imperial menus created by Apicius, Rome’s very own Julia Child. The fruit made its way to the American palate in colonial times and was later cultivated in California by the Spanish.

These thick-rinded, sweet-fleshed fruit are divided into two categories: muskmelons and watermelons. Muskmelons include familiar varieties such as cantaloupe, casaba, and honeydew. Most people don’t know that melons belong to the same gourd family as winter squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins. Although referred to as a fruit, melons are also recognized as a “culinary vegetable,” and can be prepared like their more savory cousins. Nontraditional melon preparations include tomato and watermelon salad, melon gazpacho and melon salsa. All parts of the melon can be consumed: African and Indian cultures often ground or roast melon seeds, and even the rind can be enjoyed by pickling or preserving.

Farmers Market Tip: To pick the perfect melon, listen for a hollow sound when you knock on it, check for softness at the vine end, and make sure you smell a sweet odor.

In Season

June, July, August, September, October

Recipes with Melons

Heirloom Melons with Cactus, Basils, and Yogurt

Mark Liberman, AQ

Grilled Melon Salsa

Alison Mountford, Square Meals

Tayberry-Melon Salad with Sweet Fromage Blanc and Basil Syrup

Lauren Kiino, Il Cane Rosso

Chilled Summer Melon Gazpacho

Mark Dommen,Chef and Partner, One Market Restaurant.

Articles about Melons

July 18, 2014

Meet Marcy

CUESA is excited to welcome our new executive director, Marcy Coburn! Find out what inspires her work.

July 11, 2014

Farm Tripping

Summer is prime time for agritourism. Here’s our list of local U-picks, tours, and other farm fun.

July 09, 2014

A Fond Farewell from Critical Edge Knife Sharpening

Bob Kattenburg retires after 19 years as the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market’s knife sharpener.

July 04, 2014

On the Farm at Marin Roots

Take a behind-the-scenes look at organic veggie growing with the young farmers at Marin Roots Farm.

July 02, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: Rafael Zuniga

Rafael’s passion for good food stems from his work with children and youth.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »