Hirakata packing shed
“It needs to stop raining,” said Michael Hirakata on Thursday. The excess moisture is causing decay in the fields, cutting down on the abundant cantaloupe harvest. “We’ve had hail, too, you know,” he added. “It needs to stop.” In July, there were 10 days of recorded precipitation. The rainfall was 5.33 inches. Normal is 1.81.
Eight growers send their cantaloupes to the Hirakata Farms packing shed, which washes and packs the melons for shipping. They are members of the Rocky Ford Growers Association: Hirakata Farms, Hanagan Farms, Matthew Proctor Farms, Lusk Farms, Knapp Farms, Mills Farms, L&M Companies and Mameda Farms.
The Rocky Ford Growers Association was formed in 2011 by the growers of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe to strengthen and protect the reputation of the world famous melons. It came on the heels of a scare that almost wiped out the cantaloupe market due to careless processing by one small farm near Holly. The Rocky Ford growing region has now been defined as Otero County and Crowley County South of the Colorado Canal. The Rocky Ford Growers Association is widely respected and has had great success in marketing. When it comes to farming, though, weather is still the king.