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So what's the deal with Rocky Ford/Eden's Gem melons??

Posted by edweather 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 16, 08 at 21:53

I've been trying to sort out a mystery. Most seed companies seem to have these two muskmelons reversed in their catalogues. From what I've been able to figure out so far is that there was a Rocky Ford that is orange fleshed and was introduced first, maybe in the 1800's sometime. Only one company lists this as orange fleshed....Seeds of Change...but they don't show a picture, which is strange. All the other companies that I've seen (at least 10-15,) list Rocky Ford as green fleshed and some even call it Rocky Ford Green Fleshed....which is why I think orange was first, otherwise why call it green? Now here's the major problem....from what I can discern, the Rocky Ford green, is a 2-3 lb melon, and was introduced in 1881, and Eden's Gem (also green) is a 1 lb melon and was introduced in 1905 in Rocky Ford Colorado. Some companies are also calling Eden's Gem Rocky Ford Green Fleshed. Some companies are calling the 2-3 lb green fleshed melon Eden's Gem. It's a mess!! Why should I even care? It all started when Cornell University suggested Rocky Ford as a good one to grow in NY. When I began to look for it I found 4 different descriptions of Rocky Ford. I like to know what I'm growing. I ordered Amy Goldman's book to try and sort it out, but it hasn't arrived yet. If I made any sense then you are as obsessed as me. What's your take, and who is selling the correct melons?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: So what's the deal with Rocky Ford/Eden's Gem melons??

I have no idea which company may be selling the correct melon(s). They are probably so intermingled over time that no one is. The Netted Gem aka Golden Gem, Golden Jenny dates back into the 1880's and was the standard for many years.Burpee's 1888 catalog lists it as having been introduced a few years earlier. The Rocky Ford(green flesh) was an an improved version of this melon before WWII. There were several improved versions of this melon, one of which was the Rocky Ford (gold lined) It was still a green fleshed melon, but had a gold lining of the seed cavity. This was the most sought version in my neck of the woods in the forties. There was at some time a Rocky Ford ( orange flesh) introduced. No experience with that one. In 1960 Willhite advertised it as Rocky Ford Pollock 10-25 and states that it is a strain of Pollock 10-25 from Rocky Ford Colorado. They state in 1960 that it was introduced a few years ago. I never heard any of them called Eden's Gem until recently. Each seed company in the pre WWII era had a habit of renaming cultivars to make the appear as special from that company. But the main line companies of that era, Burpee, Burgess, Condon Brothers, Shumway, T.W. Wood etc never to my knowledge used the term.

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