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.