OTERO COUNTY — It's that time of the year! Rocky Ford's summer melon harvest is now underway, with the peak season coming in August.
Located in Otero County, Rocky Ford might be small in population, but it's known across the nation for its fresh watermelons and tasty cantaloupes.
As one might think, weather throughout the planting, growing and harvesting process always plays a huge role in the success of each season.
Gail Knapp, co-owner of Knapp's Farm Market, told News 5 that this year's harvest has faced many challenges from Mother Nature in the form of hail and strong winds.
Knapp said that high winds in particular were detrimental to her melon crops. The wind broke some fruit off of the vines, which killed crops, bringing negative financial consequences to her business.
"Our yield is going to be way down this year due to weather conditions that we had earlier in the spring and summer," said Knapp.
The other big story here is the ongoing drought. Rocky Ford and all of Otero County remain under extreme drought, which surprising to learn has actually been beneficial to this year's melon crop.
"Melons love hot, dry weather, so hot and dry weather helps the sugar content in the melons," said Knapp.
While rain is good during the planting process, too much water around harvest time can cause the melons to rot and spoil, resulting in a less sweet and delicious product.
So while the drought can be harmful to other crops grown at Knapp's Farm, melons on the other hand tend to thrive under hot and dry weather conditions.
"The melons so far are phenomenal. We're getting rave reviews from the public, and I guess the grocery stores already, so the flavor is tremendous," said Knapp.
Lastly, Knapp just had to brag a little bit at the end our interview about Rocky Ford and the quality of this year's melon crop. "If you find Rocky Ford melons, just be sure that you get out and get some because they are delicious.