Midwest Marketing Co. is testing a new variety of cantaloupe in Indiana, but is sticking with athena and aphrodite varieties, traditional Eastern cantaloupes, for its volume production.
All the options the watermelon category has developed over the last 20 years have helped bring it out of a slump, Hunt said.
“I think we’re coming up on a golden age,” Hunt said.
“Twenty years ago it was archaic and declining. Now value is increasing. I think we’re ideally suited for at least the next 10 years.”
Fresh Quest Produce switched its honeydew variety of choice to harper a few years ago, and others are following suit this season, Kertesz said. Since the company developed the harper melon with a seed company, it plans to implement the same development technique during the next few seasons to develop an even sweeter, more consistent variety.
“We’re looking for a honeydew that’s super sweet with a long shelf life,” Kertesz said.
“Honeydew doesn’t usually sell as much as cantaloupe, but if it’s really sweet and has good flavor, it would.”