Once upon a time there was an amazing and beautiful watermelon known as the Moon & Starsâ€”so called because its dark green rind was speckled all over with little yellow dots (the stars) and one or more large yellow spots (the moon).
The melon was initially known as the Sun, Moon and Stars when it was first introduced in 1926 by Peter Henderson and Company seed company. But then it was seemingly lost forever, disappearing from the scene for decades. The sweet and juicy, full-of-seeds melon was believed to be extinct. You just couldn’t find seeds for it anymore.
It seemed the Moon and Stars would never shine again.
In the 1970s, Kent Whealy of the Seed Savers Exchange began a quest to find the heirloom watermelon. After several futile years, he concluded that he’d never find it. But in 1980, he talked about the late, lamented Moon & Stars melon in a TV interview. A farmer in Missouri happened to be watching and contacted Whealy to let him know the heavenly watermelon was indeed alive and well and growing in his garden.
The farmer promised Whealy he’d save him some seeds. Whealy traveled to the Missouri farm and brought along a photographer from Mother Earth News to capture the proceedings. Moon & Stars seeds soon became one of the most popular heirloom varieties, available to farmers and home gardeners alike.
Our friend, Farmer Joe Langford, in fact, is cultivating Moon & Stars watermelons on his farm today and we had a chance to give one a try. While the melon we sliced open wasn’t super sweet, it was still a juicy and refreshing treat. And it was kind of fun to gaze at the Moon & Stars.
If you’re interested in planting the Moon & Stars right in your own backyard, the seeds are readily available today. You can get them from Ferry Morse, Park’s Garden, Peaceful Valley, and Thompson & Morgan, among others.