The Arizona Honeydew melon season saw a slight delay, but is set to start this week. Sam Sternberg of Martori Farms says: “Our usual Honeydew season runs from May 15th through October 15th, but this year, as a result of cooler weather, we are around 1 week behind our usual harvest time. Overall, though, we are expecting a normal growing season this year, with excellent growing conditions and exceptional quality.”
Demand likely to exceed supply this season
Martori Farms grows their Honeydews on their farms located in Tonopah, AZ, and Aguila, AZ. The volumes this season are down slightly. Sternberg explains: “We plan our plantings as close to our commitments as possible, and due to the current pandemic, Honeydews and many other commodities are experiencing fewer commitments from the Food Service sector. The Honeydew market typically has large swings on availability and price. This season, early indicators show that the Honeydew demand exceeds supply.”
Golden Honeydew grows in popularity
Martori Farms grows a large variety of both conventional and organic melons. Their assortment includes: watermelons, cantaloupes, and their exclusive Lemon Drops and Dewlicious Golden Honeydew. Each of these melons are currently in season and shipping. “Their season is going well, with strong demand and great quality,” Sternberg says.
One of these varieties is standing out from the rest, he shares. “We continue to see growing interest and increasing volumes on our Golden Dewlicious melon, which is a Golden Honeydew. This melon performs with consistent high brix and sweet flavor. In addition to this, the vibrant yellow color attracts consumers at a store level.”
Surface pasteurization to increase melon safety
Nowadays, more than ever, food safety is a great concern for consumers. Martori Farms is one of the few growers that utilizes surface pasteurization on their cantaloupes with a hot wash process. This process eliminates 99.9% of all surface pathogens from the cantaloupe. “We believe that our Hot Wash process will only grow in importance as food safety remains top of mind and we navigate today’s health concerns,” Sternberg concludes.