Our organic cantaloupe are best of the season when august rolls around. The summer heat and sunshine ripen the fruits to a juicy, soft, sweet, orange flesh.
Planting the Cantaloupe:
Our organic cantaloupes are planted from mid may to the end of June. We will plant 4-5 acres of melons in 3 or more plantings of about one acre each. All the seeds are started in the greenhouses in small flats or seed trays and then transplanted into the field. We use a plastic mulch system for our organic production which reduces the amount of weeds around the plants by blocking the light and holding in soil moisture which conserves our irrigation. A small drip tape line is installed under the plastic right next to the plant that delivers the water directly to the root zone of the cantaloupe and not to the weeds between the rows. Plants will flower in 3-4 weeks from transplant and be pollinated by the many bees we have on the farm specifically for that purpose. Cantaloupes will be ready to harvest in approximately 70 days from day of transplant.
Harvesting the Cantaloupe:
We harvest the Cantaloupe in the morning hours before the sun has a chance to heat the melons up and before the have a chance to soak up the day’s heat. After cooling overnight, the melons are firmer and cooler in the center. Not all the melons ripen at the same time so we choose those melons that have a light tan to orange skin with a slight softness around the stem end. Green melons or immature melons are left on the plants to ripen in the next few days. Harvesting on a patch of melons will typically be done over a 10 day period with 2-3 pickings of fruit. Crews will work through the field selecting and piling up those melons that are ready. Next we toss the melons from one person to another and gently place them in the bins for transport. Reminiscent of grade school “field days” and the egg toss, harvesting melons is not much different!
Delivery, CSA and Farmers Markets
Our organic cantaloupes will make it into the CSA boxes several times throughout the season. As we move from patch to patch the cantaloupes are available from mid July to mid September. Succession planting is key in us having the melons available over a long harvest season and is why we will typically have four or more plantings.
We think the best way to consume our cantaloupes is chilling them in the fridge for a few hours and then slicing into chunks directly into a bowl. The sweet, orange flesh needs no additions and is perfect for any meal; breakfast, lunch or dinner. Like many of our organic fruits such as strawberries and blackberries, the cantaloupes are only here for a short season mid to late summer. Enjoy and come see us at the farmers markets.
Looking for something different in a cantaloupe recipe? check out our Mint, lime, cantaloupe chiller recipe, click here.