The plains around Mont Ventoux, formerly called Comtat-Venaissin and including Cavaillon, are famous for their melons. Local melons were so popular that writer Alexandre Dumas is said to have traded some of his books for a lifelong pension in melons. Melons can be grown in the region due to a suitable climate and sufficient water brought by the canal from the river Durance.
Melon-growing a highly delicate and specialized process. It is sensitive to the wind (mistral) and humidity, and preferably requires ’new’ land. It needs much sunshine and a workforce specialised in pruning and harvesting.
Its flesh is only fragrant and sweet when the melon is perfectly ripe. Its sweetness is measured by its sugar content (refractive index) .The commercially minimum acceptable level is 9% and can go up to 11% for the high-end market.
Melon has a very high beta-carotene content.
Choosing a melon is not easy for the layman. Indeed, writer Alfred de Musset may have said that choosing a friend is like choosing melons – you have to try several before finding the right one. Joking aside, it should be heavy and its tail should come off easily.
Sowing: from February to May, then transplantation into plastic.
Harvest: from May to September with a main period in July.