Harvesting & Field Packing
Packing the Perfect Box
Picking a cantaloupe at its prime is a fickle thing; while today a cantaloupe may not be ripe enough, tomorrow it may be too ripe. It takes a keen eye and years of experience to train crews to harvest cantaloupes that are just right. Beginning at dawn, our field harvest crews comb the fields, selecting only mature fruit at its prime point for picking. Under the supervision of trained and experienced field managers, these crew members pack a high quality box that is recognized throughout the industry as one of the best.
The key to delivering highly fresh fruit is to minimize the time between picking and cooling. That being the case, it is imperative that the picking, packing and palletizing process be honed to as effective a procedure as possible. Our highly efficient harvesting operation covers an entire field each day of its harvesting, hand packing the cantaloupes directly into boxes on packing trailers pulled behind a tractor. These boxes are then palletized immediately in the field such that loads of fruit from the field arrive at the cooler ready to load into the cooler. By minimizing the time between picking and cooling, we maximize shelf life and freshness.
Food safety drives our field packing operation. Due to the hot, dry desert climates in California and Arizona, moisture and dirt on melons is minimal. This allows growers in desert climates to pack boxes in the field with an important end result: minimization of potential cross contamination.
Wash lines and other common surfaces in packing facilities expose melons to other melons, thus exponentially increasing the likelihood of cross contamination. By hand packing our melons in the field, we safely avoid this potential cross-contamination point and isolate cross-contamination to a single box of cantaloupes.