California watermelon shipments should be up for the 2020 season, while cantaloupe and honeydew volume should be similar to last year.
The San Joaquin Valley’s westside district is the heart of California’s melon loadings. There should be 16 million 40-pound cartons of cantaloupe this season.
Honey shipments should mirror 2019’s 7.6 million 30-pound cartons.
California growers are expected to ship about 529 million pounds of watermelons in 2020, up from 450 million pounds last year.
Turlock Fruit Co. Inc. of Turlock, CA., had all of its melons, including cantaloupe and honeydew, ready by the Fourth of July.
Turlock’s cantaloupes and the company’s proprietary Orangedew melons got underway June 25, with honeydews started July 1.
Industry wide, cantaloupe volume exceeds honeydews, but Turlock Fruit Co. grows more honeydews.
Pacific Trellis Fruit of Los Angeles ships organic and conventional Pure Heart mini watermelons, conventional and some organic Tuscan-style cantaloupes and conventional Sunny Gold yellow seedless watermelonsWestside Produce of Firebaugh, CA., started shipping cantaloupes and honeydews from Arizona in mid-May and should have consistent supplies through October,
Cantaloupe and honeydew volume will be similar to past years, although the company has changed its mix of varieties and sizes.
Couture Farms of Huron, CA, which specializes in mixed melons and honeydews, has reduced its acreage of specialty melons and decided not to grow honeydews this year because of uncertainties in the marketplace during the planting season.
Industry wide, cantaloupes to account for 70 percent of the three categories, honeydews 25 percent and specialty melons 5 percent.
Del Mar Farms of Westley, CA began shipping cantaloupes, honeydews, seedless watermelons and mini watermelons the first week of July.
The company will have cantaloupes and honeydews through October and possibly into November.
Turlock Fruit Co., where three generations are actively involved in management, is a bit different in the cantaloupe world because the company still ships the traditional Western-shipper type cantaloupe, which has the full color and aroma of a full-slip melon.
When a full-slip melon is ready for harvest, it is pulled off the vine, unlike the widely used harper variety, which must be cut from the vine.
The newer varieties have the shelf life but not the flavor component of the Western shipper cantaloupes.
Watermelons should finish by early October.