Scars on honeydews…..are they defects? We are talking about scars, that occur while the honeydew is growing. The scars do not progress, or become worse.
As you can see from the above image, I would score two honeydews as defects, damage by scars. I decided to research the USDA inspection instructions for some guidance. There is no mention of scars in their inspection instructions. After checking the U.S. Grade Standard for Honeydews I was surprised to find no mention of scarring there either.
As is the rule, established by the USDA, when no specific scoring guideline is given, you should default to the guideline “if the defect materially affects the appearance, then it should be scored as damage, a defect of the U.S. No. 1 Grade.” Looking at the two melons I scored as defects, the scars obviously materially affect the appearance, right?
It becomes a little more confusing if you call the scars pictured above as netting. The USDA inspection instructions do mention netting on honeydews, stating, “Netting on honeydew or honey ball type melons, either raised or occurring as shallow checks in the skin, shall not be scored as damage. Deep checks materially affecting the appearance of the melon are considered damage.” Are these considered deep checks? Unfortunately the USDA does not have any visual aids depicting netting on honeydews, specifically what are considered “deep checks.” In my 30 plus years of working with the USDA I never heard this topic come up.
In the meantime, I would say it is fair to say the honeydew in the bottom left is considered light netting, and would not be scored as a defect. But if you find honeydews with netting affecting the surface in such a way the appearance is materially affected, they should be scored as defects.