Sakata Seed is an international breeder of numerous varieties of vegetables and ornamentals. One of the melon varieties it has developed is the Infinite Gold, which is a type of cantaloupe. The company developed Infinite Gold several years ago as a Long Shelf Life (LSL) melon. Dale Palmer, Sakata Seed's Melon Produce Manager based in Yuma Arizona, recalled the response when the company first introduced Infinite Gold.
"Once Infinite Gold made it to the commercial level it began to take off," he said. "If I remember correctly the first season was the Desert spring season. Once growers began to see the quality and yield it literally took off with requests for large amounts for the SJV season. Ever since then it has steadily increased. We are very happy with how everything is going with Infinite Gold. We strive daily to improve all aspects of the melon market with high yielding great tasting melons."
Alicia Suits and Dale Palmer of Sakata Seed
One of the aspects where growers are providing positive feedback is the yields they are getting from Infinite Gold melons. According to Palmer, "Growers love the yield it provides and we have seen some pretty impressive yield numbers from Infinite Gold all while maintaining its excellent quality." He explained that it sets a vast majority of its fruit down the center of the bed making it easier to harvest with less waste from melons being hit by equipment. "Along with allowing less wasted fruit it also makes it a little easier to water when using flood irrigation since the melons are away from the shoulders so they don’t sit on wet ground risking issues with quality and yield."
Senior Marketing Manager at Sakata Seed, Alicia Suits, also described how the company sees Infinite Gold as a success. "Many growers are finding they only need to harvest the field two to three times as opposed to six to eight times for other melons," she said. "This means growers have the potential to use less labor, fertilizer and water and have more flexibility in harvest timing."
Balancing shelf life and flavor
As mentioned, Infinite Gold was designed a Long Shelf Life melon. According to Suits, the idea is to improve shipping capabilities and help reduce shrink at a retail level. She added that Sakata Seed also wanted to maintain the flavor.
"Infinite Gold is an LSL cantaloupe with a superior flavor profile to other melons in its class," Suits shared. "We have tested Infinite Gold multiple times over the past five years against leading market competitors and Infinite Gold has consistently ranked #1 for overall quality, flavor, aroma, and texture."
Field Day invitation
Currently, Infinite Gold is available in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Central America, with the West Coast growing regions one of the major regions where it grows. "It works well in the Desert in Yuma and Imperial Valley along with Central Arizona," Palmer observed. "Infinite Gold really shines in the San Joaquin Valley early and towards the tail end of the California growing season in the Sacramento Valley. It is also being used in Mexico and in some places in Central America, and has really taken off in Australia where it really shines and has excellent quality compared to competitor varieties."
Growers have been invited to visit Sakata Seed during the California Field Days in the middle of August. As Suits concluded, "Infinite Gold is an LSL cantaloupe with a true star quality – it achieves the traditional cantaloupe flavor and maintains freshness longer. If you’d like to learn more about Infinite Gold as well as our other cantaloupe offerings, we invite you to join us at our California Field Days in Woodland, California, August 14th -16th. To RSVP, please do so through the website."