Melon Medley: Organic Production Practices, Microbial Safety and Consumer Preferences of various Melon Varieties

This webinar took place on January 31, 2018. Find all upcoming and archived eOrganic webinars at

About the Webinar

Melon (Cucumis melo subsp. melo) is a valuable commodity, but production in Maryland has significantly decreased over the last twenty years. Declines in production can be attributed to several factors including disease and pest susceptibility, labor demands, increased market competition, and frequent implication in multistate foodborne disease outbreaks and recalls. Moreover, although consumer demand for organically-cultivated fruit continues to rise steadily every year, organic melon systems in the hot, humid climate of Maryland present unique challenges in the form of pest management and crop protection. To better understand how organic production practices may not only improve yield and fruit quality, but also decrease food safety risk, several melon varieties were grown using tilled single and two-species green manures in organic and transitional systems. Melon yield, disease incidence, melon sensory qualities and transmission of foodborne indicator bacteria onto fruit were assessed. Different melon cultivars grown in various green manures were transported to the lab for evaluation of their susceptibility to human pathogen colonization. Data on best production practices, microbial safety and consumer preference of various melon cultivars can provide farmers with applicable information to improve profitability of this valuable crop. This webinar will present results and discuss successes and challenges experienced throughout this three year study, funded by USDA NIFA through the Organic Transitions Program.

About the Presenters

Dr. Shirley Micallef is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. Her research focuses on the microbiological safety of fresh produce. 

Dr. Kathryne Everts is a Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland Lower Eastern Shore Research & Education Center  She conducts research on the epidemiology and management of vegetable diseases that are economically important in the mid-Atlantic region.Currently her lab focuses on the soilborne diseases Fusarium wilt on watermelon, and white mold on lima bean; Fusarium fruit rot on melon, and the foliar diseases cucurbit downy mildew and powdery mildew.

Published November 22, 2017

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.