With a name like that it’s got to be great, doesn’t it? I’ve always been intrigued by the name and since it seemed likely to come from somewhere in Russia or nearby it might do well in our climate.
Collective Farm Woman (CFW from here on) is a moderate sized pale green fleshed melon. Mine averaged about 5″-6″ in size, decent if not huge. They have an average sized seed cavity and a very pale green flesh, almost white. They were vigorous producers, with each small vine producing several fruit.
The big lesson I learned was that I started out picking them too early. I tried some when they were first turning yellow as I was afraid they’d spoil. All my other melons went from underripe to overripe in a day or two, so I didn’t want them to rot. When I tried them, they were very bland with little flavor and not very sweet at all. When I let them get ripe though…
Eventually I let them go pretty much a solid yellow and they turned into a different, much better, melon. When I let them get ripe they had a lot of flavor and were quite sweet. Not like honey but very tasty and very refreshing. Even when ripe the flesh was very firm, almost “crunchy”, a pleasant change from the cantaloupes that tended to be quite mushy.
An added bonus I hadn’t anticipated is that they are excellent storage melons. As you can see in the picture, the rind is exceedingly thin and what you can’t see is that it’s also quite hard. These melons aren’t going to bruise easily and even after 3 weeks in storage now they’re just like they came from the field and with no losses. I’ll keep a few as long as I can to see just how long they can be stored after harvest. It’s sure nice being able to enjoy some melons after all the others have been eaten or spoiled.
All in all I’d give them a 9 for production, an 8 for flavor and a big plus mark for their storage ability. Next year I will narrow my melons down to two or three and these will definitely be one of them.