California – Our Nation’s Fruit Basket
California cantaloupe produces about 75 percent of all cantaloupes grown in the nation. California cantaloupes are grown in two main regions – the Southern Desert Area and on a 200-mile long stretch on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley from Bakersfield to Sacramento. The San Joaquin Valley growing area is where most of the cantaloupes in California are grown. These cantaloupes are normally referred to as “Westside” cantaloupes. Westside cantaloupes are planted in early April through mid-summer and harvest takes place between June and October. Cantaloupes from the desert growing region are harvested in April through early July and then again in mid-October through early December.
All cantaloupes from California are produced in regions with weather that is hot and dry. Rain-free summers in California growing regions along with careful field preparation and irrigation practices by growers keep the cantaloupe dry to ensure that melon rinds develop properly.