The kingdom of tiny melons in Da Lat

By Quynh Tran   January 10, 2017 | 08:25 pm GMT+7

The city of a thousand flowers has become famous for a new type of exotic plant: the pepino melon.

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The pepino melon, native to South America, is favored by Vietnamese consumers due to its special skin and faint aroma. Nguyen Dinh from the Central Highland province of Da Lat was the first person to bring the seeds to Vietnam.

Dinhs plantations cover an area of 1,000 square meters (2,400 acres) with nearly 4,000 melon trees.

Dinh’s plantations cover an area of 1,000 square meters (2,400 acres) with nearly 4,000 melon trees.

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"I planted 800 melon trees as a trial at the end of 2015," Dinh said. "The first two crops were fairly low and the fruits lacked flavor. Things are different now."

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Dinh said that he grows pepino melons in greenhouses using high-tech methods. A mature melon tree can be up to 2 meters high.

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It takes Dinh about four months from planting to harvesting for his two crops per year. Each plant produces from 5-10 kilograms per crop.

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This crop is ready for the Tet (Lunar New Year) shopping season so Dinh has employed workers to tend to his crop.

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A mini melon weights from 200-300 grams

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At present, the 31-year-old harvests about 100 kilograms of melons each day. The price per kilogram is VND80,000 ($3.5).

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The melons are about the size of a hand, almond-shaped and firm. When they ripen, they develop beautiful purple streaks on their yellow skin and give off a deep, sweet smell.

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Dinh has also sold 800 pots of melons to local traders ahead of Tet

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Thoa, a trader said: “We’ve bought these pots and will prune the melons before selling them in Ho Chi Minh City."

Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

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