The very best of the season’s cantaloupes, honeydews, dove melons, yellow flesh watermelons and watermelons (common, seedless and private measurement) hail from Rocky Ford, a small city in southeastern Colorado that turns into the discuss of all cities this time of yr.
What’s so distinctive concerning the space that makes it the hallmark for this bounty? It’s the blazing-hot days that ease into crisp, cool nights.
“We get wonderful climate for melon rising,” mentioned Matthew Proctor, a third-generation Rocky Ford farmer. “Temperatures throughout the day attain 100 to 110 levels, and nights cool all the way down to 40 to 50 levels. That is perfect for the melons to develop pure sugars. We’re blessed with sunny days.”
Add to that the clay soils, that are full of vitamins. Put all of it collectively and also you get a very candy fruit. Rocky Ford’s cantaloupe can attain a sugar content material of as much as 15 p.c, with specialty melons registering even larger; these grown elsewhere common 10 p.c or much less.
It’s no marvel that Rocky Ford melons have grow to be world well-known.
To make sure melons ripen at totally different charges, farmers house plantings out.
“We do three to 4 plantings to unfold out the harvest so long as potential,” mentioned Brooke Proctor, Matthew’s spouse. “This yr we had climate harm, an early frost, that broken our first planting.”
She continued, “It takes about 12 hours to choose melons and get them to shops so they are going to be at their peak taste and sweetness. As an entire, little or no of the Rocky Ford melons are shipped out of state.”
Search for the Rocky Ford Affiliation’s sticker on melons to ensure you’re getting real Rocky Ford cantaloupe, watermelons, and different specialty melons grown within the Arkansas River Valley and processed in line with the strictest well being and security requirements.
Native grocery shops and farmers’ markets carry our state’s well-known melons. One other good place to search out them is at Smith Household Farmers Market in Peyton (boarding Falcon). There you’ll discover an enormous assortment of Rocky Ford melons throughout the season, in addition to the coveted dove melons.
“I plant as much as 5 patches of melons,” mentioned Adam Smith, a second-generation Rocky Ford farmer who opened the market in 2009. “There’s at all times just a few dove melons within the patches. They don’t have an extended shelf life, and when individuals see them, we promote out quick.”
Melons in all shades of colours are delivered every day, or each different day, together with different produce grown on the farm in Rocky Ford. The market is open every day 7 a.m. to eight p.m.
Smith supplied some suggestions for selecting cantaloupe and watermelons:
• Discover the sphere spot on the melon, which is the big yellow patch on one facet. If the colour is a creamy, nearly butter-like yellow, it’s ripe. If it’s white, the melon could also be at peak ripeness.
• Faucet the underbelly and hear for a deep sound. A ripe watermelon can have a deeper sound, whereas an overripe one will sound extra hole or flat, indicating the flesh is beginning to go gentle.
• Search for a boring, heavy watermelon. It is probably not probably the most lovely, and it might weigh what appears like a ton, however it is going to be a more sensible choice. Watermelons are 92 p.c water, so a heavier melon is holding extra water and will probably be juicier. A shiny one signifies the insides are below ripe.
• Test the surface coloration. A ripe cantaloupe needs to be beige or sandy-gold. Steer clear of these which can be nonetheless inexperienced, as this implies they’re unripe and never able to eat. Cross up fruits which have giant holes, bruising, mould, gentle spots, or any juice leaking out — the melon is probably going too ripe. Additionally, really feel the surface rind for raised edges on the webbing. This means that the melon is able to be eaten.
• Discover a melon that has an inverted stem (like a stomach button). If a stem continues to be connected, or if there are tough edges the place the stem was connected, this implies it was picked too early and should have a poor taste.
• Faucet the surface of the cantaloupe and hear for a low, strong sound. A hole sound could also be a foul signal.
• Odor the blossom finish (reverse the stem finish). You must expertise a candy scent. In the event you scent something musty or acidic, your melon is overripe.
contact the author: 636-0271.
contact the author: 636-0271.