The Melons of Muscatine

Muscatine Melons

Cantaloupe, also known as “Muscatine Melons” or “Muskmelons”, are a world famous crop in this part of Iowa.


Hello and welcome to the blog today.   At the moment, I’m enjoying a world famous muskmelon, locally grown in the sandy soil just south of the “Pearl City” of Muscatine.  Cantaloupes are one type of muskmelon… but there are other muskmelons such as the Honeydew or Crenshaw.  Muscatine is renowned for its amazing melons which thrive in the sandy soil – soil which drains too quickly to do well growing corn.  The melons are irrigated using Mississippi River water and that is said to enhance the flavor.  This year’s crop has seen its share of heat and dry conditions resulting in smaller melons that are much sweeter – the sugar being concentrated.   They are just “out of this world”.

Garden Center2

Mairet’s Garden Center — Just south of Muscatine, it’s a fantastic place to buy fresh, locally grown produce.


Please click the link and check out Mairet’s Garden Center.

Musc Melons2

You can’t beat home grown stuff… Just sniff the stem area and “thunk” the melon (hoping for a hollow sound) and you’ve got a winner!


Purchasing a Muscatine melon was the last activity of a fun day hanging out with buddy Johnnie.   Earlier in the day, we visited a handful of thrift stores in search of Jello molds and other finds.  No new copper molds were found although I was delighted to purchase 5 stoneware plates for just 70 cents per plate.  These stoneware plates have a cute cat design and were appealing.  For years I’ve been using mostly paper plates but have lately decided to re-think that approach.  It’s fun to have a REAL plate… one that doesn’t soak up precious gravy or rich steak juices.  Why five plates for one person?  That was just in case I break one or two when camping.  🙂

1_cat plate

The pattern on the plates found at the thrift store. These were too cute to pass up!


Later in the afternoon Johnnie and I went for a drive along the Mississippi River south of town.  He showed me some popular fishing areas and campgrounds.  Though the fishing looked great, I was a little concerned about how remote some of these venues are and the potential to be disturbed at night.  Nonetheless, I plan to check out some of these fishing locations later this year and maybe just dry camp at Johnnie’s.

Mississippi River south of Muscatine

Mississippi River south of Muscatine

As often as trout fishing escapades appear on this blog, this summer is turning out to be a great time to polish the river fishing skills and see some new places.  On Monday I fished in the Wapsipinicon River just a mile from home and caught a small mouth bass measuring between 14 and 15 inches, as well as a decent catfish.  They turned into Tuesday’s dinner for Jesse and myself.  He liked both but especially the tasty whitefish meat of the bass.

Bass and Catfish

Fishing has been and continues to be a focal point for enjoyment.  This activity is healthy to some degree, providing physical and mental relaxation, a change of scenery, and some nutrition from the catch.  It’s also a means for self-learning and personal growth.  We’ll have to see where the currents of time, water, and travel lead in the future.  There will be pictures along the way, as always!

Thanks for visiting and take care!

Bradford, Jesse James, and Kitty Jen-Jen
Jones County, Iowa

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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5 Responses to The Melons of Muscatine

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I miss going to 2nd hand stores. There aren’t to many down here like years ago, but when I was going to the mountains we found so many and would hit them up often. I love your plates enjoy them and yes sometimes a real plate is better than paper. 🙂

  2. Pleinguy says:

    Dang! Those muskmelons look so-o-o good and juicy.

    • VanTrekker says:

      I just finished the last of the melon today. Fortunately, there is a corn stand a few blocks down the road from home and the farmer brings melons from Muscatine.

  3. Pasquale Urtiaga says:

    Is the true Muscatine melon extinct? This may seem like an odd question in the UJuly heat when the melon trucks are appearing at crossroads and parking lots around southeast Iowa, but it is truly something to consider.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Sometimes I wonder. I’ve seen melons called “Muscatine melons” only to find out they were grown in Missouri. I did hear that few and fewer are grown near Muscatine.