Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Carosello Massafra

Carosello Massafra Seedling - Late March
The round Carosello Massafrahttps://cucumbershop.com or Massafrese is one of the most beautiful cucumber-melons that I have ever grown. As its name implies, it originates in Southern Italy. One of the many reasons I love growing Carosello and other cucumber-melons is because of how quickly they produce fruit. These Massafra cucumbers were planted in late March and have been enjoying watching them grow.

Cut paper towel roll to protect against cutworms

In general, melon varieties (C. melo) that are cultivated as cucumbers do well in the heat. While my regular cucumber varieties (C. sativus) wilt during very hot times of the day, my Carosello never do.

Carosello Massafra - April 11th

Another C. Massafra on April 11th

There is a regular pattern with all the cucumber-melons that I have grown so far, so that I know about when to expect to see both the male and female flowers.

Trellising Carosello plants on Tomato Cages

Carosello Massafra - May 6th

The Carosello Massafra produces melon flowers

Carosello Massafra cucumbers

Carosello Massafra melons around May 20th

Last Saturday I picked some Massafra fruit for a taste test. One of my children recently tested positive for an allergy to cucumbers and pickles (C. sativus). Luckily he tested negative to an allergy to melons (C. melo), so he was able to help me with my Massafra taste test.

Maturing Carosello Massafra melon

So – how did they taste? My best description is super-juicy on the inside and lightly crispy-crunchy on the outside. The taste was that of any other freshly picked cucumber. In short, it was delicious.
Morning Munching of Massafra Melons - say that 10 times fast! (=

Angelo and my other Italian gardening friends at Amicidellortodue will have to forgive me for stealing their idea in some of the photographs that I took of my Carosello Massafra.

Recently, I found a really good page on making a summer salad with this variety and the Massafrese - howbeit the translation for the carosello variety "Barattiere" Google translated as "swindlers". This has to do with the nickname of that variety of carosello which, I am told, has more to do with the personality of the farmer who invented the variety than with the carosello variety itself.

The Carosello Tondo Massafra


  1. Dear Jay,
    What a big difference with my Carosello Tondo Massafrese! Here in North Italy we have had the rainiest springtime for ages. I'm having difficulty growing carosellos this year. We are at the end of May and I'm still using plastic shelters in the night to save them from cold. I envy your dry climate.
    Your Siletz, Neptune and Hahms Gelbe tomatoes are growing well. I'll send some pictures of them as soon as possible.

    1. Hi Giuseppe!
      Each of us climate problems to deal with. I thought I was going to be growing the blotched Massafra but all of mine are a very solid dark green color. I have another bag of seeds I'll try later.

      I am so glad to hear that the tomatoes are doing well. I would love some pictures. I would be happy to add them to this blog with a note that they are from you. (=

  2. So Jay they look like a cuke when cut open and taste like one...you could make pickles out of them??? Cool.

  3. Why are they called melons? Do they taste like cucumber or melon or mixed?

    1. The Carosello are in the melon family but the fruit tastes like a cucumber.

    2. Hi Jay. I'd say better than a cucumber. But it's only my opinion. My wife, my daughter and my son like cucumbers better, even though they appreciate all carosello varieties as well.

    3. Hey Giuseppe - I agree with you. They are especially juicy and delicious!

  4. Can we get these seeds stateside?

    1. Dear Southernruralroute,

      When I do not respond for a while it is usually because I am thinking of an appropriate response. The question that you asked me is something that I have been working on for a few years. If you periodically type in "Cucumbershop.com" into your browser you should (in the near future) be able to contact a stateside seed supplier.

    2. Dear Southernruralroute,

      You may now find these seeds stateside at Cucumbershop.com. (=




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