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.
Contact Diane Mulligan to arrange an interview with Brooke Proctor of Proctor Produce.