Carosello is a specialty of Puglia in the sun-baked southeast corner of Italy. They belong to a class of cucurbits which include the perhaps better known "Armenian cucumber" that are botanically melons but are eaten immature at which point they taste (and are used) very similar to cucumbers. The cultivation of Caroselli and other "cucumber-melons" predates true cucumbers in the Mediterranean region and many countries have a version that dates back to antiquity. They come in a diversity of shapes and colors: round, elongated, ribbed, striped, fuzzy or smooth, light or dark green. Many are specific to the small geographic area the come from and a couple are listed with Slow Food's "Ark of Taste". This particular variety is known as Leccese Light Green, name after the historic city of Lecce, one of the most important population centers in the region, from where it comes. Plump, light green, cylindrical fruits are refreshingly crisp with a flavor not too dissimilar from a classic cucumber, but with a finer, almost-but-not-quite summer squash-like texture, thinner skin, and perhaps slight undertones of its melon family kin. This strain was shared with us by carosello evangelist Jay Tracy of the Cucumber Seed Shop in Fairfield, CA. He considers this strain among the best, most uniform and productive of the many he maintains.
Note: In spite of being botanically melons, these are very much appropriate for even short cool seasons. Because they are eaten "immature" they are harvested on a similar timeline to cucumbers and multiple successions can even be grown in a single season. First plantings should go in however when you would plant other melon varieties. Since people will invariably ask: fully ripe melons are rather bland and unremarkable.
50-60 days. UO
Packet: 20 seeds