Demand is steady right now for melons. “Our programs are national and we typically see steady demand on melons through the summer,” says Jeff Nichol of Los Angeles, CA-based Pacific Trellis/Dulcinea® Farms.
Dulcinea's melon volume has increased over last year.
He notes that overall Dulcinea’s volume has increased over last year. “We base our crop production on demand and make decisions based on advanced planning. Planning and communication are key and we have been working in advance with our retail partners to set up programs that will allow for more volume and expanded melon displays during the peak season.”
On varieties, Dulcinea’s main variety is the Pureheart® mini-watermelon, available in conventional and organic, which is available year round but peak supplies are available March through October. It also carries the Extra-Sweet Tuscan-Style® cantaloupe, which is popular with consumers due to its small seed cavity. These also see availability from mid-April to October. Other types of melons include the Sunny Gold® mini seedless yellow watermelons (April to September) and its Sugar Daddy® brand of full-sized seedless watermelon with almost year-round availability.
Left: Jeff Nichol; right: the Pureheart mini-watermelon.
Expanding the line up
“This season we’ve also added the portfolio of Kiss Melons to our program--Sugar Kiss, Summer Kiss and Kiss Limon,” Nichol says, noting they can be packaged with standard PLU code stickers or sleeved into nets with header cards explaining the unique characteristics of each melon. “One thing that is important when providing an assortment of fruit is that they have great taste,” he says. “Great tasting varieties will bring repeat business.”
The Extra-Sweet Tuscan-Style cantaloupe is popular with consumers due to its small seed cavity.
In terms of regions, Dulcinea is shipping from the San Joaquin Valley, CA, McAllen, TX and Wapato, WA. Then in October, production moves to Stockton, CA and Hermosillo, Mexico via Nogales, AZ. “We are producing in the primary growing areas, but typically in August there are some locally grown programs in the Mid-West, Canada and North East. These should wrap up in the next few weeks,” says Nichol.