UPDATED WITH HARVEST PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rocky Ford Growers Association to present Governor's office with 1st box of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe from the 2017 Rocky Ford Cantaloupe season starts rolling into stores within days!

You have every right to be jealous of the Governor’s office for getting the first box of the 2017 Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ season delivered to their doorstep this morning. Rocky Ford Growers Association family farm owner Eric Hanagan of Hanagan Farms will present the cantaloupe to Colorado Lt. Governor Donna Lynne at 9:30am, kicking off the long-awaited harvest.

The cantaloupe harvest starts this week, so consumers will be able to pick up a sweet, locally grown Rocky Ford Cantaloupe in grocery stores and farmer's markets within days. The eight family farms that make up the Rocky Ford Growers Association will harvest more than 4 million Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ this year. The ripest cantaloupes are picked daily through the growing season and go from field to grocery store in about 12 hours.

The Rocky Ford region grows the sweetest cantaloupe thanks to a perfect combination of blazing hot days and cool nights, along with the fresh Arkansas River water that irrigates the valley.

"It has been hot and dry and all the cantaloupe we've picked early have been really sweet," said Rocky Ford Growers Association president Michael Hirakata. "The harvest starts with cantaloupe, and our watermelons and honeydew should be in stores within 10 days, so keep your fingers crossed for more hot, dry weather!"

What: Farmer Eric Hanagan delivers 1st box of 2017 Rocky Ford Cantaloupe to Lt. Governor Donna Lynne

When: 9:30am Monday, July 24th

Where: Colorado State Capitol West Steps

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ has had a perfect safety record for over 130 years. When you see the Rocky Ford Growers Association/Hirakata Farms sticker on the fruit, you will know the cantaloupes have been grown and packaged following stringent, national safety procedures.

You can do your part too: remember to rinse your cantaloupe under running water, scrub it with a clean produce brush, dry it with a cloth or paper towel and cut it with a clean knife. A whole cantaloupe can sit on the counter for three days. Once you slice it up, it can stay in the refrigerator for another three days.

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ will end up on school lunch menus, restaurant and food service menus, and on the plates at military bases along the Front Range, but don’t wait to get yours. The harvest runs until mid-September, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

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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.