Little Bear Produce Rings in Summer Melon Season
- by Kayla Webb
EDINBURG, TX - As a Californian who once lived in Seattle, I’ve since picked up a few life hacks to help make May feel like spring, rain or shine, which I thought I’d share since the Golden State is currently experiencing its own Seattle spring. One of those hacks was enjoying any variety of melon, all day, every day. Honeydew, cantaloupe, and, of course, watermelon were my go-tos to help encapsulate warmer days with flavor and flare. This year, Little Bear Produce is making sure consumers across the nation can implement this hack and enjoy domestic melons all summer long.
“We are on the cusp of starting the first domestic supply of honeydews. These South Texas beauties are vine-ripened and as sweet as honey,” Bruce Densten, Director of Purchasing with J&D Produce, shared with me. “Our pretty pearls are packed under the Little Bear label and will have a sugar content ranging from 14 to 16 percent. We will also be adding Texas Seedless and Texas Personal melons to the mix a week to ten days later.”
Little Bear Produce kicked off its melon season with harvest on May 15, with Bruce informing me that volume for honeydews and seedless melons will be available between May 22 and June 10. In fact, acreage for honeydew and the Personal melon is very similar to seasons past, while regular seedless acreage is up this year—meaning retailers should buckle up for a great melon season.
“In terms of quality, the season looks good. In terms of timing, we’re a bit off," Bruce revealed. “Late winter and early spring weather was not typical ‘melon’ weather and, as a result, we are much later than normal. Traditionally, melon season kicks off the first of May. If we catch a warm spring, we can hit the end of April. This season, we’re delayed about 14 to 21 days. Despite that, field inspections and product samples are showing clean fruit with good quality. And we’re hoping to put on a little size before we begin harvesting.”
A later season has not taken a toll on markets, though, as Bruce explained that markets appear to be holding steady.
“Pre-bookings of fruit are very similar to last season’s markets. Transportation could get interesting as more and more product becomes available. With more product coming out of the Southeast, the competition will heat up for trucks as fruit volume increases out of Texas in the next couple of weeks,” Bruce concluded. “I also want to remind everyone to support their domestic growers and shippers, and as always, your support is appreciated.”
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