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Rocky Ford melons are hitting grocery store shelves, helping the local economy

Knapp's Farm Market
Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 23:18:35-04

ROCKY FORD, CO — Rocky Ford cantaloupe and watermelons are hitting the shelves at grocery stores and farmers markets in Colorado.

Michael Hirakata, owner of Hirakata farms says the cantaloupe had a good season and now they’re being packed up and shipped out.

“The quality is excellent, the sugar is high,” said Hirakata. "The Rocky Ford watermelon had a slower start, due to weather conditions in the spring, but they are also in stores across the state and more should be picked in the next couple of weeks."

One customer, Peter Grimes says he made sure to stop at the Knapp’s Farm Market on his trip to his hometown in Pueblo all the way from where he lives in Oklahoma.

“We make it a point to stop at two of the farmer markets every time we come home,” said Grimes.

He says there’s nothing like the flavor and sweetness of the melons out here.

“Just the flavor, it’s got an awesome flavor compared to what we have up there. The difference is night and day,” said Grimes.

"The prices of melons this year may look a little different though due to inflation causing the cost of preparing the melons to escalate," Hirakata says. “We raised our price, we had to because fuel went up, fertilizer went up, boxes went up, labor went up, everything has gone up across the board so we’ve had to raise our prices also.”

But these famous Rocky Ford melons also help the farmers who grow them to stay afloat financially.

“This is our main crop, this is how we make our living and our livelihood and this is how we survive,” said Hirakata.

Hirakata says the melons are also great for the local economy in Rocky Ford.

“It bumps up the economy pretty good for the couple short months we are in business,” said Hirakata.

He says the labor force brings business to the area as they buy food and fuel which supports the town.

The melons are good for the town’s pockets, but they’re also good to eat. They are now in stores across the state to enjoy, so follow the footsteps of Peter Grimes and get them while you can.

“You can’t beat Rocky Ford melons, they’re famous everywhere. They’re just good,” said Grimes.
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