New Galia variety changes skin colour when ready to harvest

With a taste of the traditional Galia melon, the new variety “Kirene” combines the high sugar level of a Galia with an extended shelf life that allows it to ship throughout Europe. “Kirene is a Galia variety, but with a nice, yellow appearance,” said Claude Guérin of Nunhems Produce Chain Specialist. Nunhems is the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience, and Guérin said they developed Kirene to specifically meet consumer desires. “In the past you could get melons that were yellow but weren't ripe,” said Guérin. “But the color of the Kirene lets you know when it's ripe, and it makes life easier for everyone along the supply chain.”

To secure the supply chain, it's bred so that it matures from green to yellow when it's ready to harvest, making it easy for growers, retailers and consumers to know for certain when the fruit reaches maturity. This happens at a time during the summer season when no other melons on the European market can boast such an appearance.

On top of that, Kirene has a wonderful scent which engages shoppers to buy it more than any others. “Kirene is good for retailers because during June and July, when it's available, it's the only variety that has all the external signs of maturity,” said Guérin. Growers also appreciate the resiliency of the plants during the growing season and the yields during harvest. But most importantly, the fruit always turns yellow when mature, and it's never yellow before then. That's important for growers because they know exactly when to harvest their melons, it's important for retailers because they know what fruit to display, and it's important for consumers who know they'll get fruit that is at its peak of flavor.

“We know that people want more flavor from melons,” said Guérin. “So we worked on ways to improve that.” In addition to a sweet taste and attractive appearance, having a sufficient shelf life was also key so the variety could be shipped from production area to retail shelves without any hassle. That's exactly what Nunhems got with Kirene.
Going forward, Guérin noted they're working on extending this galia concept to come up with melons that can grow before and after Kirene's window of June and July, but the reception the melon has received so far has been encouraging.

“The biggest production right now is in Spain, and the fruit is shipping throughout Europe,” said Guérin. “It's now in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and probably Russia.

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