Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Season: Strong Start to California Melon Harvest

The Packer reports that the California Westside melon harvest is off to a strong start, with large sizes and good sugar content.

"The melon harvest at Perez Packing Inc., Firebaugh, began July 3, said Atomic Torosian, managing partner at Crown Jewels Marketing & Distribution LLC, Fresno.

"'The fruit's beautiful. It has a nice golden finish, is heavily netted and has good sugar,' Torosian said.

"Sizes are peaking on 9s and 12s."

Prices for San Joaquin Valley cantaloupes have been trending substantially lower than last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported half-cartons of 9s at $5.95-6.95 with 12s fetching $6.45-6.50.

At the same time last year, the USDA reported prices for half-cartons of 9s at $10.45-11.45 while the range for 12s was $10-10.45.

"There had been speculation that high temperatures in early July would accelerate the germination of second plantings, which could lead to a late-summer glut. Not so, grower-shippers said."

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