Posts Tagged: watermelon
Think of the ABCs: almonds, blueberries and cherries. Then think of watermelons and pumpkins. All those crops will be discussed in a series of free...
"A" is for almonds. A honey bee pollinating an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"B" is for blueberries. This is the result of bee pollination. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"C" is for cherries. A honey bee pollinating a cherry blossom.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
In the waning days of her tenure at the Fresno Bee, food writer Joan Obra devoted an entire column to the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Parlier.
When she first announced her decision to leave the Bee to return to her family's Hawaii coffee farm, Obra wrote rapturously about the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. Her following column said, "I'm not yet done telling you stories." She then recounted treasures she discovered over the years during tours of the 330-acre Kearney station near Parlier.
Obra was fascinated by:
- A demonstration planting of medicinal and culinary herbs from Southeast Asia which includes common and scientific names for the plants.
- Sichuan peppers that she wrote "nearly choked me," planted by UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Richard Molinar at Kearney as a possible California specialty crop.
- A late summer field day where she tried more than 20 varieties of mini watermelons. "The red flesh of the Little Deuce Coupe was pleasingly crunchy but not super sweet. And the sunny interior of the Mini Yellow was sweeter but not as crisp," Obra wrote.
- Jujubes. Not the artificially flavored candy that sticks to your teeth, but small apple-like fruit important in Asian communities.
A watermelon field day at Kearney. (Photo: B. Dawson)
Master Gardener Mike Kent sent away for giant watermelon seeds and tended a patch at the program's two-acre research garden, "Nine Palms Ranch." The result was five supersized watermelons including a 103.2-pound behemoth that was carved up and shared at a September tasting and open house.
According to the story, written for the Chron by Master Gardener Laramie Treviño, UCCE farm advisor Aziz Baameur was on hand for the watermelon tasting. He said the monstrous melon was surprisingly sweet, and while it is a curiosity, the size isn't practical for most consumers. In fact, watermelon breeding programs are focused on smaller, rather than larger, fruit.
"Most people don't want 40-50-pound watermelons - they'll hurt their backs trying to put them in their cars," Baameur was quoted. "If you have a small yard, that is all you're going to grow."
The newest trend is seedless "personal" watermelons, about the size of a cantaloupe. They are easy to carry and fit comfortably in the refrigerator. Many varieties of personal watermelons have been found by UCCE advisors to have very thin rind and bright red, crispy and intensely sweet flesh.
Small-sized watermelons are more popular than monstrosities.