Montreal Melon

Ark of taste
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The Montreal Melon is an extremely large size melon with thin dark green skin that is easily bruised. It is prized for its unique sweet and spicy flavour with tones of nutmeg. During its heyday in the early 20th Century it was known as the Queen of Melons. The melon’s roots has been traced back to varieties brought over by French settlers in the 17 C. It is required labour intensive farming to ensure its maximum sweetness and flavour; moreover, its generous size also made transport costly and the melon soon fell out of favour with the growth of agribusiness. In fact, by 1990 the melon seemed to have become as extinct as the French varietals that were their ancestors. Local interest by members of Eco-Initiative, a Montreal based community organization, about the agricultural heritage of the area rekindled the melon. Seeds were discovered in Iowa at an agricultural research station. With the help of local organic farmers and the Eco Initiative community garden, this unique melon has been resurrected. It is believed that the Montreal melon is best adapted to the rich soil and slope on which Montreal suburbs are built. The local group Eco Initiative sponsors an urban community garden in same area that used to be the old orchards that fed the city up until the 1950’s. They now have a Cantaloupe Garden specifically created to honour and grow the Montreal Melon. Local organic farmers have also begun growing the melon, which is still considered at risk and there is not extensive production of this delicious melon.

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Quebec / Québec

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Paul Caccia - Slow Food Quebec