The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board has redesigned its website. The site features more information about farmers as well as recipes and usage ideas, and pushes information about food safety, which has been a prime focus in the past, to a secondary position. ( California Cantaloupe Advisory Board )

Cantaloupe board buys Giants ads

The Dinuba-based California Cantaloupe Advisory Board is running full-page ads in San Francisco Giants programs throughout baseball season, said John Gilstrap, board manager. The board will have six different ads that will change every month throughout the season, said Marilyn Dolan, owner of Farmers Communication Exchange, a Sacramento, Calif.-based public relations firm.

The advertising agreement includes a number of game tickets, which will be given away through a consumer sweepstakes on Facebook.

The board also has redesigned its website.

The site features more information about farmers as well as recipes and usage ideas, and pushes information about food safety, which has been a prime focus in the past, to a secondary position.


Classic partners with ATB Packing

Classic Fruit Co. Inc., Fresno, Calif., has “partnered up” with ATB Packing Co., Turlock. Calif., said Tom Conrado, vice president of West Coast sales and business development for Classic Fruit Co.

Classic will have some involvement in the growing operation and will be the exclusive sales agent for the companies, while ATB will focus on growing, he said.

Classic has been a longtime offshore melon shipper and also has been active in a domestic program, Conrado said.

“This is the first year we’re actually shippers of our own fruit,” he said.

Lance LeVake, partner in ATB, said he decided to get out of sales and marketing to focus on growing.

He and Conrado are longtime friends, he said, and the companies have been doing business together for more than 15 years.


Couture Farms’ acreage up 50%

Couture Farms, Kettleman City, Calif., has increased its acreage by 50%, after the firm received 100% of its water allocation for the first time in several years, said partner Steve Couture.

“We’ll have water for a good-size block,” he said. “We’ve been held back for at least three years.”

The company ships some honeydews but emphasizes seven kinds of specialty melons.


Del Mar Farms adds cold storage

Del Mar Farms, Westley, Calif., is adding 20,000 square feet of cold storage space, said Brian Wright, sales manager. Melon volume will be up 10% at the company this year, and the additional space will be able to accommodate that growth.

The addition should be up and running in July.

The company also is adding organic and conventional personal-size watermelons this season, he said.

And Del Mar Farms has added a few acres of Crispy Pear melons, which resemble the golden honeydew and have a brix level of 14% to 18%, and also planted some Sunny Type melons, which are “the same as a cantaloupe only sweeter,” he said.


Legend boosts Origami acreage

Dos Palos, Calif.-based Legend Produce LLC has increased its production of the Origami cantaloupe variety by 50% over last year, said partner Barry Zwillinger. About 60% of the company’s crop now is Origami.

Legend plans to increase its Origami volume each year, as demand for the fruit continues to rise, he said.

The company also has increased its overall California Westside acreage by 15%, he said, mostly in the northern part of the district, north of Los Banos.

Legend also continues to trial its galia melon.

“We started it this winter in Central America, and we’re continuing it all the way through October,” Zwillinger said.


PTF/Dulcinea revamps packaging

Los Angeles-based Pacific Trellis Fruit/Dulcinea Farms has created new net-with-header packaging for its one-count Dulcinea Tuscan-style extra-sweet cantaloupe, says Micki Dirtzu, director of marketing.

“Our goal with this packaging is to position this product as a premium melon and differentiate it from a regular cantaloupe in the store,” she said.

The company also is bringing back its Dulcinea Sunny Gold mini seedless yellow flesh watermelons.

“We are in the process of scheduling in-store demos in the Midwest, where consumers are less familiar with this variety,” she said.

Demos will be complemented by recipe cards featuring a grilling recipe on one side with a craft cocktail on the second side.  

The company also has expanded its organic acreage as demand for organic produce continues to grow across multiple categories, said Josh Leichter, general manager.

Finally, Rod Rosales, most recently with Devine Organics LLC, Fresno, has joined the company as senior sales and business development representative.


Turlock Fruit Co. Inc. has two new melons

Turlock Fruit Co. Inc., Turlock, Calif., has added two new melon varieties, golden honeydew and Golden Hami, said Steve Smith, co-owner.

“We’ve been trialing them for the last couple of years, and we think we’ve found a really excellent variety,” he said.

The company has exclusive rights to the Golden Hami seed, he said.


Westside adds melon varieties

Westside Produce Inc., Firebaugh, Calif., has added some new varieties of cantaloupes and honeydews and launched a new website, said Garrett Patricio, chief operating officer.

“Some of the new varieties have some unique characteristics, whether it’s shelf life, a new emphasis on flavor or a certain harvest window,” he said.

The company also launched a new website at

Westside Produce celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and the new site has a video that reviews the first 25 years and envisions what will be driving the company during the next 25 years, Patricio said.

Continued commitment to food safety and sustainability will figure prominently in the future of the company, he said.