Market Tales

Bonnie, Bengals and the Pie Melons

I’ve heard that a Celebrity Model doesn’t get out of bed unless she knows she will earn a nice 4 figure sum that day.  If I were a celebrity I might choose to go only to Markets like the Toowoomba Farmers Market which had over 4,500 people attending and great sales.  But the very next day I also went along to the Withcott Foothills Festival were the numbers were in the low hundreds and the sales were only 10% of the previous day.  However, at the Withcott event I meet a lady called Bonnie and we chatted about jam and marmalade. Bonnie said she had some pie melons  – too many for her to use- and would I like some?

Pie melons or citrus melons come originally from Africa.  It was grown in Egypt at least four thousand years ago and it still grows in the Kalahari desert.P1000694

It grows as a weed in various areas of Australia.  They make a surprising sight in Western Queensland  – the green spreading plants stretched out on the dusty red roadside verges with the round green watermelon – like fruit. Pie melons have a white to yellow flesh and are traditionally used for jams and pickles.  I had seen them growing , I had heard about pie melon jam but never made it or even  tasted it. Pie melon is out of favour – replaced by it’s celebrity relations the watermelon and the honey dew melon. You don’t buy pie melons in shops – you have to grow them or forage them so of course I wanted some!

When I  visited Bonnie she had already harvested the melons except for one poor fellow which had made the mistake of growing too close to the fence.  We had to cut it off. This melon was certainly a funny shaped fruit but I like using funny fruit.

Hung on the wire

Hung on the wire

Over a cuppa with fruit cake we chatted and found out that, although there is a thirty years difference in our ages, we shared many interests and a love of gardening sewing and cats. I left loaded down with not only pie melons but spinach and pecans and some seedlings.

I think Bonnie enjoyed the visit as much as I did. She said “will you come back?”  Of course I will hopefully armed with some pie melon jam.  I’m going to make it with ginger from my garden and limes from a friend at book club. I’ll let you know how the trial goes. The Withcott markets may not have made me lots of sales but it did make me a new friend.

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2 thoughts on “Bonnie, Bengals and the Pie Melons

  1. I remember seeing these growing wild on spare lots when I was a kid and we were on holiday at Woodgate. My parents said they had no flavour but I had to crack one to find out for myself!

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    • Hi Donna I think that pioneers and depression period battlers were happy to find food growing free. We are spoilt with so much tastier food these days.

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