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Hot days benefiting California honeydew growers

The honeydew season in California is well underway and conditions in the last few weeks have been excellent. Growers are reporting good yields and quality fruit with high BRIX. The California season is set to extend now for several months before it makes its way south again for the winter. 

"We started in the west side of California on June 23 and the way our planting schedule is indicates that we will finish the season here in the second week of October," said Tom Conrado of Classic Fruit Company. "We have just this week started breaking a new field in Firebaugh. Temperatures have been over 100 degrees almost every day over the past month and the fields are still in good shape. Quality has been excellent and the sugar levels have been high. The very hot and dry conditions also help to keep diseases away."

Demand and market moderate
With the summer season maturing, demand for honeydew remains moderate. Movement is good and the market is steady. According to Conrado, Classic Fruit are seeing strong movement for their fruit.

"At Classic Fruit, we are seeing good demand from our customers and movement has been great all season for our particular programs," he said. "The market is okay but we believe our quality has helped us move more fruit than the market would suggest. Although our program is not as large as others, supplies have been tight at times."

Importance of vine-ripening
As mentioned, Classic Fruit Company link solid fruit movement to quality. The company noted that it is their practice to allow the honeydew melons to ripen longer and consequently gain a better sugar level. It also helps to color the fruit up and encourage repeat business. 

"You have to let that fruit ripen in order to get the sugar levels up," Conrado shared. "We cut the fruit at full maturity which allows it to reach maximum flavor as well as maintain a good appearance in store. As a result, we are seeing more repeat business from customers coming back to our fruit because they know it will be sweet and full of flavor."

"Additionally, we continue to trial new varieties each year," he continued. "By focusing on R&D, we stay on the cutting edge and ensure our fruit is always the best it can be for our customers."

For more information:
Tom Conrado 
Classic Fruit Company
Tel: +1 (559) 271-9200

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