Some random melons are growing in the pedestrian median next to the bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue at 104th Street. Don’t eat them, warns Kim, the owner of Kim’s Fruit and Vegetables next door. They apparently are inedible.
The melons were planted by the “night salad manager” at the store. He was playing around with some seeds and tried planting them.
If you do eat the melons against our advice, let us know how they taste and if you survive. Also, if you’re a melon expert tell us what kind they are.
Thanks to Peter Frishauf for the tip and top photo and to Carol Tannenhauser for the lunch-break reporting and bottom photo.
This is the best hyper-local news article I’ve ever read. Understated irony. Appropriately dubious purpose. Unwitting celebrity. And if you might think I’m kidding…I’m not.
Chinese Bitter Melon
Why can’t I eat them? Is it because they are not from Zarbar’s?
Nadine, You’re kidding!!
Love this story for so many reasons. Night salad manager !
Does the night salad feature nightshades?
Yes, I love night salad.
I also love the tomatoes growing in the sidewalk box outside Edgars. Who on earth would eat tomatoes water by dog pee day in and day out?
who, indeed? the same who would eat vegetables bathed in pesticide and herbcide? some people drink their own pee for health reasons. of all that, which is better?
Most soils in NYC will have a high content of heavy metals, including but not limited to lead and arsenic.
Heavy metals are absorbed by the root system and end up mostly in the plant’s leafs. The fruit tends to absorb less given that they are on the plant for less time but in the case of melons they tend to absorb almost as much as the plant does.
As a general rule, nothing grown in NYC soils should be consumed unless the soil has been tested and deemed safe for that purpose. For $25 to $30 you can have a university agricultural extension test soils for you.
Sorry I didn’t see your post before I posted mine. Your comments are correct. Thanks
So if they are Chinese Bitter Melons are they edible? And if so, why not eat them:)
My dad had a “garden” many years ago. One of the neighborhood kids came over and said cool you’re growing fruits and vegetables in the old owner’s sandbox.
Hey if Moses could do it lol
We don’t know what they are but they are inedible and if you do eat them, tell us how they taste. Where did the “night salad manager” get the seeds . . . from something inedible served in the store . . .? Probably the most dangerous result of eating roadside produce is the concentration of heavy metals and other combustion debris in soil.
A quick Google search shows Chinese bitter melons to be cucumber shaped and served cooked in other dishes . . .
so why are you even growing them? get them out of there.
A couple of years ago, maybe more, there was a humongous corn stalk (with corn!) growing 2-3 blocks north of Kim’s, in a tree pit. On the way to school every single morning my kids never ceased to be fascinated by it. Wherever these plants come from (did I mention the gorgeous irises this past spring?) they brighten many of our days as well as taking parents’ minds off the constant stress of feeling like we are one heartbeat away from getting run over by huge trucks turning way too fast, or seemingly oblivious bike riders speeding (usually in the wrong direction!) in the new Amsterdam Ave bike lane. And yes, we are crossing with the light, not against it. Scary! The melons & their botanical kin balance out our grumpiness & for that we are glad 🙂
What a refreshing, uplifting story!
What happened to the guy who used to give tours of wild foods, [in Central Park ?]. Is there a book by Agatha Christie of poison plants. There is a general book; but, I don’t remember the author/ess. Also, has anyone been in contact with the gov’t ?/311? Ah, Melons cannot be used as Bowling Balls, [tee-hee]. How @ a scoop of Sherbert in a safe-to-eat Melon !
Wendy, I think the guy you’re thinking of, who used to give tours of wild foods in Central Park, is “Wildman” Steve Brill. He has a spiffy website, http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com — and apparently an App for identifying wild foods!
“Don’t eat them, warns Kim, the owner of Kim’s Fruit and Vegetables next door. They apparently are inedible.”
This article is hilarious! Really enjoying the dry humor
Melon folly babies.
I tried them, confirmed not for life
And even if you don’t survive, be sure to come back and let us know!
How have others experiences been with cut melon purchased from local stores? I recently had bad experience purchasing cut cantaloupe from both Gourmet Garage and West Side Market. In both cases, the fruit was already fermented upon delivery.
Speaking of W Side Market, I wonder what other people’s experiences have been with them in placing orders by phone for delivery. Although I had a number of positive experiences in the past, my most recent ones have been abysmal. Despite being /very/ clear, speaking slowly and repeating myself when ordering, at least one and sometimes several items delivered were completely different from what I had ordered. I know that delivery from WSM is available via Amazon Prime Now but I have found that the web site does not have all of the items that I know to be available in the store. (And, sometimes at least, vice versa as well.)
Fresh Direct’s sister operation Foodkick continues to deliver remarkably and even amazingly fast, sometimes within an hour of placing an order. But the limits of their selection include, for what may already be months now, not offering cut cantaloupe except as part of a combination that includes other fruits. Foodkick does offer cut Sugar Kiss melon and it is quite good. But it’s much sweeter flavor comes at the expense of a less desirable nutritional profile; considerably more sugar and only roughly a third as much vitamin C and beta carotene (pro vitamin A) than cantaloupe.
We’ve been enjoying Fresh Direct’s Sugar Kiss melons all summer (whole, not cut) and they’ve been extraordinary. Thanks for providing their nutritional profile: I felt sure they had more sugar but didn’t know about less C and beta carotene than cantaloupe. Thanks much!
Glad you appreciated it but you shouldn’t take my word; nutritional info for products can be found right on the FreshDirect and FoodKick websites.
Also, here’s a useful resource:
USDA Food Composition Databases
The higher concentration of beta carotene in cantaloupe is indicated by its deeper orange color. Honeydew, containing only a negligible amount of said nutrient, pales in comparison to both cantaloupe and Sugar Kiss (both literally as well as figuratively).
Editor needed stat!
I have these in my garden. They’re totally fine.
Somebody get Steve Brill!!!!!!!
I love that upon reading comments, not only did someone already mention Steve Brill, their game is Wendy!!!
those for sure are not bitter melons. my parents used to grow them and they are bumpy and long.
Kim said not to eat the melon 🍉. Then why plant them. If anyone ate it, and live to tell us, tell us how it taste. Thanks
I was observing a similar looking plant in Fort Washington Park and finally brought home the only melon from the plant when the leaves started looking pooky. Melon is in the fridge and I have yet had the chance to try it. It was ided on iNaturalist.com as Muskmelon
Did you test the soil for heavy metal levels? If not, I would not eat that melon! (As per above comments.)
Where did it come from?
You remember that total eclipse of the sun about a week ago?