We discovered this classic Cypriot watermelon in 1996 in the picturesque mid-week farmer’s market within the walls of Old Nicosia. Grown then by only one villager, it is now gone from the island’s markets and is considered one of the most endangered of the Cypriot heirlooms. Dating from at least the 1700s if not before, this melon is known locally as the Pastiha Kypriaki “Anidri,” which means that it requires very little irrigation. The traditional practice was to pack mud around the base of the plants in the early morning and let Nature do the rest. The melons feature thin black-green skin with rich, bright red flesh and weigh from 5 to 10 pounds, depending on soil fertility. We have gotten some to weigh as much as 20 pounds. Highly productive, with several fruits on one vine, this watermelon can be grown successfully on trellises or netting.
Grown for the Roughwood Seed Collection at Field’s Edge Farm, Lititz, Pennsylvania.