Cantaloupes

Cut cantaloupe on a plate
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cantaloupes

Background

Cantaloupe (scientific name: Cucumis melo L. cantaloupe) are also known as the muskmelon (Cucumis melo). They are part of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, which also includes other melons, like watermelons, as well as pumpkins, squashes, gourds, and cucumbers.[1. Kemble, J. (10 Feb 1996) Guide to the Commercial Production of Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) and Related Melons. Retrieved 20, May 2013]

There are many different varieties of cantaloupes, differing by region and its particular soil type and weather conditions.[2. California Cantaloupe Advisory Board. (Apr 2013) Commodity Fact Sheet: Cantaloupe.]

Colorado farmers have been growing cantaloupes, and primarily the “netted gem” variation, for market since the Burpee company cultivar the early 1880s.[1. Kemble, J. (10 Feb 1996) Guide to the Commercial Production of Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) and Related Melons. Retrieved 20, May 2013]

Although there are a few dozen farms growing cantaloupes across the state of Colorado, most are grown in the Rocky Ford region in the southeastern portion of the state. [3]

Landowner, politician, and entrepreneur, George Washington Swink built the melon industry after he transformed the region by developing a canal-based irrigation system. Swink also introduced honeybees to the region and invented the cantaloupe crate.[4 http://www.colorado.com/cities-and-towns/rocky-ford]

Many consider Rocky Ford cantaloupes to be some of the best, they have fetched a premium price for more than a century.[5]

They are known for their quality and sweetness, which is the result of the type of seed used and the type of soil in the region—a sandy loam.[6]

However, based on 2011 data, the state of Colorado only ranks sixth among states in cantaloupe production and produced only around 2% of total US cantaloupes.[7]

Most (over 90% of the total in most years) are grown in California, Arizona, and Texas.[7]

Other important agricultural 2011 data are below.[8. Colorado Agricultural Statistics 2012]

  • 2,200 acres planted
  • 2,100 aces harvested
    • Total: 39,900 pounds
  • Planted: April 15 to May 15
  • Harvested: June 15 to October 15 (most by September 15)
    • Typical growing period: 70-80 days
  • Cash receipts in Colorado, 2011: 9,177,000

Land Use

Aliquam pulvinar mauris ullamcorper elit rutrum id porttitor lacus suscipit. In quis bibendum libero. Quisque ultrices tortor ut purus ultricies posuere. Pellentesque nec neque non velit auctor facilisis in eu neque. Aliquam faucibus, augue sed viverra molestie, velit tortor feugiat leo, et rutrum orci arcu ut ipsum.

Irrigation

Aliquam pulvinar mauris ullamcorper elit rutrum id porttitor lacus suscipit. In quis bibendum libero. Quisque ultrices tortor ut purus ultricies posuere. Pellentesque nec neque non velit auctor facilisis in eu neque. Aliquam faucibus, augue sed viverra molestie, velit tortor feugiat leo, et rutrum orci arcu ut ipsum.

 

pest management:

Using varieties that are bred to be resistant to certain pests and do not require pesticides cantaloupe in Colorado have very little need for pesticides

 

Harvest:

best practices:

Conveyor belt machine in the field Caleb are handpicked and then placed on conveyor belt to be taken to another central loading facility or packed in the field

Typically harvested over a 2 to 3 week period when the melons are in the “full slip stage” – – when mature: melon starting to ripen appearance is golden the cantaloupe is beginning to dehiss – separate from the vine at the stem more accumulation of sugar easily separated from the vine

food safety:

Aliquam pulvinar mauris ullamcorper elit rutrum id porttitor lacus suscipit. In quis bibendum libero. Quisque ultrices tortor ut purus ultricies posuere. Pellentesque nec neque non velit auctor facilisis in eu neque. Aliquam faucibus, augue sed viverra molestie, velit tortor feugiat leo, et rutrum orci arcu ut ipsum.

 

 References:

Author

James Peth

James Peth

James Peth, MS, MPH, PhD is an instructor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.