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Sometimes it's hard to pick out the best melon from the produce stand without opening, here's some ideas.
Unless you have acute hearing, thumping is not always the best way to tell if the fruit is ripe. If you are unable to open the melon on site, look for a firm fruit that has a fragrant "melon" smell where the vine attached to the fruit. If it or the fruit smells earthy like dirt, avoid it.