The wait is over: Rocky Ford Cantaloupe season is here!
Rocky Ford Growers Association member farms are picking sweet & juicy cantaloupe melons
Friday, July 23, 2021 — The family farmers of the Rocky Ford Growers Association have been busy over the last couple of months planting and nurturing their world-famous melons. Those amazingly sweet and juicy Rocky Ford Cantaloupes will start rolling into grocery stores across Colorado this weekend. The ripest cantaloupes are picked daily through the growing season and will go from the field to the grocery store in about 12 hours.
It’s the hot days and cool nights in the Arkansas River Valley that make those melons so sweet, but the weather makes putting these Colorado favorites on the table a challenge. This spring, hailstorms caused some farmers to lose up to 30% of their crops.
“We are so excited to get out into the fields and start picking the perfectly ripe cantaloupe for the 2021 melon season,” said Rocky Ford Growers Association president Michael Hirakata. “Our production will be down this year, so we suggest that if you want cantaloupes, buy them when you see them in your local grocers.”
RFGA member farms use the latest technology, from row coverings that reduce evaporation, to GPS-guided tractors that are so precise they don’t deviate more than an inch to the right or left over the length of each row. This technology protects the drip lines, row covers, and baby plants while reducing the amount of fuel used. Additional technology tracks the melons from seed to the state-of-the-art packing shed where the melons are carefully cleaned, cooled, and packed for shipping.
When you see the Rocky Ford Growers Association sticker, you know your cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melons have been grown on farms that adhere to the highest national health and safety practices mandated by the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. RFGA farms use cutting-edge safety practices throughout the growing, packing, and shipping process to produce the safest possible cantaloupe.
The Rocky Ford Growers Association members are family-owned farms, several of which are being operated by 5th and 6th generation farmers. RFGA members work together to coordinate planting so that the harvest stretches from mid-July through mid-September.
ABOUT ROCKY FORD GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Rocky Ford Growers Association™ is a group of family-owned farms in the Arkansas River valley of southeastern Colorado. Rocky Ford Growers Association™ was formed in 2011 to strengthen and protect the reputation of the cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon grown in the area. Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ is officially trademarked to ensure the best and safest quality. For our growers to label their melons as Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™, they must be a member of our association and produce melons within the boundaries of the Rocky Ford growing region: Otero County and Crowley County South of the Colorado Canal. Learn more online at https://rocky-ford-growers-association.mandccommunications.com/