Jul 18, 2014 8:24 PM by Lena Howland

Hail storm destroys acres of Rocky Ford melons

Mother Nature has not been kind to farmers in our state this summer, especially those in Rocky Ford who rely on their melon harvest.

With our late spring freeze and torrential rain and hail this week... close to 100 acres of crops have been destroyed.

Melons for miles...

"So sweet, so juicy, and it smells good too," Shirley Benz, a La Junta resident said.

Rocky Ford is a town known for their sweet cantaloupes.

"It's just quite a treat for the summer," Benz said.

Sold in stores across the state and right here at the Knapp Farm.

But this year... they've lost almost 10% of the melons.

"Saturday night, we had a severe hail storm and so these cantaloupes will not be going to the grocery stores, they're ruined with hail holes," Gail Knapp, owner of Knapp Farm said.

34 acres that would have been ready to harvest in a matter of days... destroyed.

"We're looking at about 18,000 to 20,000 boxes of cantaloupes that won't be harvested and sent to the stores," Knapp said.

At $20 per box, that's about $360,000 lost from one hail storm.

"It's pretty, pretty devastating. But we don't want that... I don't want this to keep people from buying cantaloupe," she said.

"Hopefully they can rebuild and get a lot of sales from what they do have and be back next year and hopefully the weather will be better next year," Allen Barton, an Aurora resident said.

Despite the damage... nearly a hundred acres of cantaloupe are ready for harvest.

"We're moving on and we're looking forward and we're gonna harvest the rest of our crop and provide some really good quality vegetables for everybody," Knapp said.

Knapp's Farm Market in Rocky Ford is open everyday from 8am to 7pm.


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