Cantaloupe season underway in California’s Central Valley


Growers in California’s Central Valley have now begun their cantaloupe season, with volume slightly down at this stage. As with other commodities in the region, the late spring blast of cool temperatures and rain affected production of the melons. However, since the beginning of the season, more seasonable warm to hot conditions have prevailed, providing good conditions for cantaloupe growers.

“We are now three weeks into our Central Valley cantaloupe season,” said Tom Conrado of Classic Fruit Company. “After transitioning from our offshore deal, we commenced harvest for our California Westside program, in the Firebaugh area. The timing of the first pickings was in line with our plan and the season is expected to go through the first or second week of October.”

He added that supplies are a little lighter, due to weather-related factors. “We had that cool and rainy spell in late May, early June which impacted production. But since then, the weather has been ideal, with day time temperatures in the upper 90s and low 100s, cooling down at night into the 60s. As a result, quality has been very good on both our cantaloupes and honeydew melons. As of now, we foresee these conditions to continue.”

Market steady
Demand has been sufficient for the supplies at hand, producers say. With little in the way of price movement, growers are enjoying a period of relative stability in the market. Conrado reiterated the quality of the cantaloupe crop which is helping to keep the market moving.

“The market has been steady,” he noted. “There haven’t been too many highs or lows since the California season began. This makes for a nice steady season and allows us to focus on doing what we do – shipping good looking melons with excellent sugars and a great eating quality.”

Classic Fruit Company ships melons from Arizona, California and Guatemala. Conrado said the year-round program took time to achieve but was well worth it. “Classic Fruit is now a year-round melon shipper,” he shared. “We have worked hard to achieve that over the years and we have finally managed to do so with our Westside deal.” 

By Fresh Plaza