A melon mystery solved at the Otara markets

We are big melon fans here, though keener on rock melons than water melons. Every summer, Mark goes to a great deal of effort to grow melons and it is either feast or famine – a complete glut of rock melons or next to none – because they need a lot of summer heat to develop and then sweeten before the autumn rains and cooler night temperatures.  But the melons which are often included as part of airline meals on long haul flights were, both of us thought, a terrible disappointment, being served unripe. Not so!

Clockwise from the centre top, bought as honeydew, Galia, rock and Twist melons

Clockwise from the centre top, bought as honeydew, Galia, rock and Twist melons

At the Otara markets, I found a stand of melons which seemed a snip at a dollar each. I had never seen Galia and Twist melons before. The vendor explained to me that that these were firm fleshed variants on the rock and honey dew melons and he specifically mentioned the supply for airline meals. The Galia is a crisp version of the honeydew (green fleshed) while the Twist melon is the crisp version of the standard orange-fleshed rock melon. Crisp melons are varietal, quite possibly bred and selected specifically for markets where soft-textured melons are not easy to handle. So now you know.

img_3788The Otara Markets in South Auckland are held each Saturday morning. Because I come from rural New Zealand, I find the mix of cultures, different styles and colour fascinating. We don’t see much of this in Taranaki and New Plymouth. We also pay a great deal more for our fruit and vegetables and have a way more limited range from which to choose.

Selling quick-maturing Asian greens from the carpark Selling quick maturing Asian greens from the carpark. 

img_3792Preaching with a loud sound system but no visible congregation or audience.

A spot of faith healing going on beside the carpark, A spot of faith healing being carried out beside the carpark.

Colourful korowai - traditional Maori cloaks - made with dyed feathers
Colourful korowai – traditional Maori cloaks – made with dyed feathers

img_3796There is something so visually appealing about piles of fresh garden vegetables being sold on market stalls.




2 thoughts on “A melon mystery solved at the Otara markets

  1. Marion

    I went there many years ago with my sister in law who is a chef. She plunged joyously in to the fray examining sniffing and haggling with the vendors. It was amazing to see the stuff on offer. I imagine what is grown and sold is even more multi cultural now.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I can see you know exactly what I felt! I walked out with bags of avocados (both Hass and Reed), big beautiful papaya which were 3 for $10, lush red capsicums (about 6 for $4 or $5). A really smart new vegetable cutting implement that may deliver me from the dangers of the mandolin. Oh and five pairs of stretch cotton boxer shorts as a joke present – but useful – because they were 5 for $20! If I lived in Auckland, I would be a market regular. There are so many to choose from.

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