Ark of Taste: Montreal Melons By: Andrew McNaughton
Region and Brief History <ul><li>The Montreal melon, also known as the Montreal market muskmelon or the Montreal nutmeg me...
Why is it on Ark of Taste <ul><li>Like everything else in culture and society, food is affected by fashion and convenience...
Steps taken to ensure long-term placement <ul><li>In 1991, when Barry Lazar, a Montreal filmmaker and freelance journalist...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Ark Of Taste Montreal Melons

791 views

Published on

  • Be the first to comment

Ark Of Taste Montreal Melons

  1. 1. Ark of Taste: Montreal Melons By: Andrew McNaughton
  2. 2. Region and Brief History <ul><li>The Montreal melon, also known as the Montreal market muskmelon or the Montreal nutmeg melon, is a variety melon recently rediscovered and cultivated in the Montreal, Canada area. </li></ul><ul><li>The origins of the melon are lost in time, although an ancient strain of the fruit was grown in Montreal by the Jesuits as early as 1694. </li></ul><ul><li>It was orginally widely grown between the St. Lawrence River and Mount Royal, on the Montreal Plain. In its prime from the late 19th century until World War II, it was one of the most popular varieties of melon on the east coast of North America. </li></ul><ul><li>The Montreal melon was derived from one such type and perfected by the Decarie and Gorman families, each of which had a variety named after it. The large, well-netted, green-fleshed, highly aromatic Montreal melons were said to be the tastiest melons around. However, the seeds couldn't be saved because seed rights for each strain were retained by the Decarie and Gorman families. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why is it on Ark of Taste <ul><li>Like everything else in culture and society, food is affected by fashion and convenience. The Montreal melon remained popular for decades, but began to disappear after the 1920s. And from the 1920s on, the Montréal Melon declined in popularity--as the melon farms themselves were swallowed up by urban expansion. </li></ul><ul><li>It has even been said that the invention of the car doomed the Montréal Melon! How? Well, for years the &quot;secret ingredient&quot; that made the melon so exquisitely plump, flavorful and large was horse manure, the fertilizer of choice for melon farmers. More cars, fewer horses, fewer choice melons. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1906, No. 1 melons fetched $8 to $10 per dozen wholesale. In 1907, the price was $15 per dozen. And by 1921, it had reached $25 to $35. By that time, a single slice of Montréal Melon in Boston hotels cost $1 or $1.50--more than the price of most steaks </li></ul><ul><li>The reason for the melon's gradual demise is the fact that the genotype of the Montréal Melon is not stable and must be carefully selected out every year in order to maintain the character and quality of the fruit. Old-fashioned fruits like the Montreal melon fell out of favour, and many were lost entirely. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Steps taken to ensure long-term placement <ul><li>In 1991, when Barry Lazar, a Montreal filmmaker and freelance journalist, began looking for the melon after hearing old-timers rave about its extraordinary flavour, he could find no traces of it. It looked as if the Montreal melon was extinct. Finally, in 1995, a few very old seeds were found in a seed bank maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the University of Ames, Iowa. Organic gardener Ken Taylor, of Windmill Farm Organics in Ile Perrot--a supplier of heritage seeds--was able to get one plant to germinate. It produced a beautifully formed, deliciously sweet melon and plenty of seeds. </li></ul><ul><li>Many local farmers in the Montreal region are beginning to grow these Melons. </li></ul><ul><li>Is now growing again in its traditional home, the fertile soil on the western slopes of Mount Royal. </li></ul><ul><li>The Cantaloup Garden located behind the YMCA-NDG outside Montreal has been farming these melons since 1998, ensuring proper handling and growing techniques. </li></ul>

×