The family farmers of the Rocky Ford Growers Association have been busy over the last couple of weeks planting their world-famous melons. Those amazingly sweet and juicy Rocky Ford Cantaloupes will start rolling into grocery stores across Colorado in mid-July. The ripest cantaloupes are picked daily through the growing season and will go from the field to the grocery store in about 12 hours.
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 use of 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.
“We are so excited to get out into the fields and start planting for the 2020 melon season,” said Rocky Ford Growers Association president Michael Hirakata. “We grow the sweetest cantaloupe thanks to a perfect combination of blazing hot days and cool nights, along with the fresh, clear Arkansas River water that irrigates the valley.”
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.