Consumer demand has resulted in the world’s fruit being sold in modern supermarkets right around the year. Even in the middle of winter, if you want peaches, grapes, papaya or melons, they will be there on the shelves for you to buy. What you will certainly not see is one of the melons of Binh Dinh Village in Southern Vietnam that can grow up to 80 kilos in weight.
The villagers of Binh Dinh are some of the few still growing giant melons and whether they continue to do so will depend upon commodity prices. The seeds of this winter melon are sown in the weeks of October and November. The next job is to set up the frames that are capable of holding the weight of the melons as they grow bigger and bigger. Around February and March when the plants flower, farmers have to pick the best of the small fruits. There can rarely keep more than two on a single tree; they are then investing in their expertise which will decide whether those two can develop into giant melons.
The farmer will know whether he has succeeded or not by May. The average weight is 50-60 kilos so you can imagine that farmers need to support the fruit with rope as they grow larger and larger. It is a risky business specialising in giant melons. It is something that people have tried in other parts of Vietnam without much success, even when using seeds from Binh Dinh.
There are many other fruits that Vietnam produces and there is demand for all. If you go on a Vietnam holiday, you will see many of them in the markets, a splash of colour and just inviting you to eat them.
As you travel the length and breadth of Country on your Vietnam travel package, you are likely to spend some time in lowland regions and other time in Highlands. That immediately means a variety of temperatures and differences in the crops being grown. If you are on a Vietnam family holiday in the Mekong Delta you will see many orchards as you pass by; some are mixed fruit with avocado often being one of the fruits. In contrast in the Highland regions, Central and Northern, the climate could be described as temperate with familiar fruits including cherries, pears, peaches and grapes.
Think mango, jackfruit, lychee, dragon fruit and mangosteen and you will see that Vietnam is rich in fruit. Mangosteen is often called the ‘’Queen of Fruits’’ and is sweet, juicy and white although if it is picked early it will still be sour but even then, it has a value in cuisine for a different flavour. Vietnam cuisine also benefits from a huge range of vegetables so it is no surprise that it is regarded as extremely healthy.
Size is not everything in fruit but the achievement of growing giant melons must be recognised and praised. Hopefully the price they can achieve will guarantee that the villagers of Binh Dinh continue to grow them.