Looking for a melon.

lat0403August 18, 2014

My mom bought a melon at the farmer's market the other day. The person she bought it from called it Israeli. It had white flesh and we all agreed it was the best melon we'd ever tasted. I didn't see the outside of the melon but my mom said it looked just like a cantaloupe, except it had green ribs.

Has anyone grown a melon like this? I find some white-fleshed melons but the only one with sutures is Ogen on the Willhite website. It looks too small to be the same thing, though. I don't think she saved any seeds.


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

The one I'm familiar with that is grown and sold under the name Israeli (old, original) melon is carried by Willhite in the open-pollinated section of the cantaloupe/melon section. They have sold it for longer than I've been alive and when someone refers to a melon as Israeli melon, it is the one I automatically think of. The old-timers here that I know who have long grown this type of melon grow the old, original Israeli like the one Willhite carries, though I've never asked them if that is their seed source.

If you want a hybrid version, there is Ogen, which also has been sold under the name Ha'Ogen (the name of a kibbutz in Israel) which is smaller, but sometimes can get pretty big with a lot of irrigation. It fits the description of the one your mom bought with greenish-white flesh and green sutures. When I grew it, I bought the seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, and in their catalog description they said it likely originated in Hungary, though it long has been associated with Kibbutz Ha'Ogen. If you go to the SSE website, they have a photo there.

There is an even newer hybrid called Galia that I've grown several times. It is the result of a cross between Ha'Ogen and a muskmelon. It has superb flavor and a delicious aroma (as all Israeli type melons do) that perfumes the entire garden. The first time I grew Galia it came in a 3-variety packet of melon favorites from Renee's Garden Seeds, but you also can buy Galia seeds from many of the standard seed companies like Burpee, Park, etc.

I think it is likely that the Israeli melons have the highest brix/sugar content of any muskmelon or cantaloupe I've ever grown and they are really tasty. Of course, too much rainfall or irrigation can ruin their flavor, but in your part of the state where rainfall is pretty scarce most summers, you could expect a really high brix with only moderate irrigation if it isn't raining much (or at all).


    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Thanks for the detailed info. The farmer's market is open again today so I'm going to see if I can buy one (or ten). I'll use those seeds if I can.

I noticed the Israeli at Willhight and Galia also came up in my searches. I think I'll try all three varieties (four if I get to save seeds) next year and see which does best.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome.

If you check out Johnny's Selected Seeds, Leslie, I seem to recall he had some newer hybrids that are similar to Galia but newer and improved. I don't remember their names for sure, but one of them might have been called Diplomat. Because JSS markets their products heavily to market gardeners who sell at Farmer's Market, via CSAs or from farm stands (or some combination of those), the varieties they carry often are incredibly good producers and often have amazing disease resistance. I've never been disappointed in any variety from JSS that I've tried.

I don't know why Israeli melons aren't more well-known. The first time I bit into a Galia melon, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. : )

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:28PM
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After seeing one yesterday from the farmer's market, I'm pretty sure it is the old Israeli. I don't think the one she had with green on it was fully ripe yet because the one I have now looks just like the pictures I've seen of Israeli. And it smells incredible. It's not even cut open, just sitting on the kitchen counter, and I smell it every time I walk through the kitchen.

I think I'll still do a trial of a bunch of varieties. I don't think I could have too many of these.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I agree. They are one of those foods that don't have a downside---they look pretty, they taste incredible and they smell even better. What's not to love about that? Even if they tasted horrible, they'd be worth growing just because they perfume the entire outdoors.

I haven't grown Israeli melons in a while. Talking about them has reminded me of that. I'll likely have them on the grow list for next year. I always feel like I don't grow enough melons, even though I grow a lot. It is torture waiting for them to ripen, but once they start, then we have tons of them for weeks on end.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:53PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b(6b)

My melon plant has only now just started making baby melons. I don't know why it has piddled around so long. I was thinking about pulling it and found a tiny one today. It is an ananas. Think any will ripen before frost? I planted in late May I think.

How big does an Israeli melon get Dawn? Sounds like a winner. 30 plus years ago I got a "pineapple" melon from Johnny's. It was hands down THE BEST melon we ever tasted. Green fleshed, but I don't think it was called a honey dew. I have been trying to find it again. I thought this ananas might be it. I looked through Johnny's melons last year, but I don't think there was anything like it. I am envious of people with melons right now :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Some of the hybrid Galia-type melons I've grown have been Early Gala and Diplomat. They tend to be early, which is important in this part of the world.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:15PM
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I also love Israeli melons. I bought my first one from a truck vendor in southern Oklahoma and it was wonderful. I came home and discovered that I already had the seed. I haven't planted melons for a few years but next year I hope to have a "real" garden again. I am missing the abundant harvest.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:04PM
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