Green River Melon Fever

Wednesday, September 20

“Ya know what would taste good right about now?. Watermelon.  Yeah.  I say we take a ride into town and get one.”

Reggie and Roger concur. Hopping to their paws, they wait expectantly for my next move. I toss them into the Perfect Tow Vehicle and we roll out of our campsite at Lower Gray Canyon along the Green River.

I ask the woman at the melon stand the price of her seedless watermelons.

“Forty-five cents a pound.”

I choose one and it costs seven dollars.

We head back to camp, and, by the time the sun sets across the river, I’ve eaten the whole dang thing.

Thursday, September 21

“Ya’ know?”

I’m sitting outside in the lounger.  Reggie tilts his head and gives me a quizzical look. Roger continues to stare at a pile of rocks into which a small lizard has taken refuge.

“I sure could go for another watermelon.”

We board the PTV and head for town.

This time I park at the other melon stand.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the first stand we went to.  Their watermelon was sweet and good.  I suspect all the melons in town come from the same fields around Green River.  I’m curious to try the other stand.

Green River, Utah, is the place to go for melons.  

The people of this town are so melon-happy that they hold a festival in its honor every September.  Green River Melon Days was a week ago.  That’s okay.  I don’t care about the festival, my interest is in melons.

Two women man the stand.

(As opposed to two men woman the stand.)   The tall, slender “mature” woman and the tall, slender young woman (her granddaughter?) greet me cheerily.

Several varieties of melons and squashes are piled on large tables and I notice that every melon or squash has its price written on it.  I like that.  I know up front what I’ll pay. .

A fellow customer reads a sign and remarks appreciatively, “Huh. The honor system. Don’t see that very often any more.”

 Mature Melon Lady comes over.

She sees me contemplating a pile of green and yellow melons.

Opening a cooler, she offers, “Would you like to try a sample?”

“Yes, I would.  I’ve never had these kind before.”

I peer inside and see melon wedges on a plate nestled in crushed ice.  She reaches in and hands me a wedge.  “That’s a Crenshaw.”

“Oh, my, that IS good!” I remark.

She hands me another.  

“Try this Canary.”

I oblige.  It’s good, too.

I think no more of watermelons and purchase one Crenshaw ($4.50) and one Canary ($3.95).

At camp I take photos of my prizes.

Let’s see . . . Today I’ll eat the Canary (on left, above, and cut, below) and tomorrow I’ll eat the Crenshaw.

Friday, September 22

The crew and I relax in the outdoor room after a walk in the canyon.  It’s mid-morning.

Hmm . . . Good time for some melon.

I cut the Crenshaw in half and scoop out the seeds.  Cradling the melon in my lap I dig in with my spoon.

Ooh, luscious.

I do believe there is a special time when a melon attains perfection, a point at which sweetness and flavor reach their height and the flesh is melt-in-your-mouth soft without being mushy.  This special time lasts about 10-20 minutes and therefore is experienced by only a fortunate few.

I swoon.

Oh, boy, this melon is gooooood.

Saturday, September 23

I’m outta’ melons!  I want more melons!  I NEED more melons!

“In you go, pups.  Waiting in town are Crenshaws with my name on them.”

Mature Melon Lady speaks . . . 

“You can freeze melons, you know.  Use them in smoothies or let them thaw almost completely and eat them.”

“Really?  I hadn’t thought about freezing melon.”

She smiles.

“There’s a man who comes up here from Moab every September.  He buys a hundred dollars worth of Crenshaws,  He buys them green.  He takes them home and when they’re 90 percent yellow he cuts them up and packs them in his freezer.  He eats melons all winter long.”

“How smart.  I’d like to do that but I can’t.  I live in a travel trailer and my freezer is very small.”

Crenshaws are on sale!  

I ask for one that’s ready to eat today and another to eat in a couple days.

In addition to the Crenshaws I buy two cantaloupes at fifty cents apiece.

Happily I load my melons into the PTV.

Before returning to camp, we make our way to the grocery store where I buy a few pieces of baked chicken in the deli department to share with my boys for lunch.



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