As growers and shippers in the Coachella and Imperial valleys in California work to find edges on the competition, Brawley, Calif.-based Five Crowns Marketing thinks it has found an important asset this year.
Five Crowns is launching its Origami cantaloupe, beginning with the desert production cycle in May and continuing through the summer and into the fall, said Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing.
Five Crowns is one of only two U.S. growers licensed to grow the melon, the company said. The other is Firebaugh, Calif.-based Legend Produce LLC, with whom Five Crowns is partnering on the Origami.
The melons, developed for a deep orange flesh and high brix, are shipped under Five Crowns’ Majesty label.
Modesto, Calif.-based Harris Moran Seed Co. developed the variety.
The Origami replaces the Impac variety in Five Crowns’ lineup, Van Dyke said.
“The Origami has a longer shelf life and ships very well,” he said.
Another defining characteristic of the melon is a thin rind and small cavity.
“That means higher yields per case for retailers,” Van Dyke said.
The Origami is grown and shipped out of the Imperial Valley through early July.
“The Origami melon brings the best attributes of a Western shipper paired with the shelf life of the Harper variety,” Bill Colace, Five Crowns’ owner, said in a news release.
The company sought a replacement for the Impac for years, Colace said.
“We will be shipping cantaloupes with higher brix, better color, smaller seed cavity and better flavor this season,” he said.
Impac had been “the main workhorse variety” cantaloupe in the Imperial Valley for the better part of two decades, Van Dyke said.
“Impac has been a very good variety over the years, with good size, good sugar.”
But, he said, it was time to move onto something new.
Impac’s downfall was its vulnerability to damage and quick deterioration, Van Dyke said.
“It’s a little softer melon, but it’s not a super shelf-life melon and if you got it a little too ripe, it would definitely sink on you,” he said.
He also said it’s tricky to pick.
The Origami compares well with Gold varieties from the Caribbean, Van Dyke said.
“There’s virtually no seed cavity but it has a long shelf life like the Caribbean-type varieties,” he said.
“It gets you that really good cantaloupe flavor but it has those characteristics that you can ship it East and it rides good and has good sugar and holds up.”