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Rocky Ford Cantaloupe

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Alex Scoville/CPR News
<p>Ripe cantaloupes for sale at Sackett’s Farm Market on Thursday, Aug. 30. Melons are the most popular crop to grow in the Rocky Ford area, and the record heat has actually benefited the fruit. Flavors are richer and smells are stronger when melons grow in hot weather.</p>
The sweetest melons in the world

For more than 125 summers, sweet tooths across the land have looked forward to a treat from southeastern Colorado – the Rocky Ford cantaloupe.

The story begins with pioneer G. W. Swink, who grew watermelons in the late 1800s, then muskmelons, and ultimately the Netted Gem cantaloupe. This juicy melon was a hit when Swink sent some to miners in Leadville in barrels and crates. By the 1890s, packed train cars were heading in all directions, and cantaloupes from “Rocky Ford, the Melon Capital of the World '' were a feature of fine dining in New York City.

Today, growers say hot days, cool nights and crops fed by snowmelt make the sweetness just right. To be a TRUE Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, it’s got to come from Otero or Crowley County. And to be a true Meloneer, you’ve got to be a graduate of Rocky Ford High School.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.