Knowing the right time to pick melons can mean the difference between a good crop and a bad one. The field crew has to be extensively trained on what to look for during harvest, and checking for those clues on each melon is time-consuming, costing the grower a significant amount in labor. Additionally, over the last few years, the melon industry has changed significantly, which created a greater need for more melons with a long shelf life.
Our breeders knew this was a major challenge for growers, so they set to work on a solution. The solution came in the form of a melon variety that brings the best attributes of both a traditional and long shelf life melon.
This fall, Seminis® will be launching a hybrid melon variety that not only has harvest indicators, but also has a longer shelf life compared to traditional melons, and high quality taste. It changes color and falls off the vine when it is ripe, so our growers can clearly see when it’s ready to harvest. It also has flesh firmness that is similar to a long shelf life variety. These traits allow the grower’s field crew to consistently pick melons knowing that every one they pick is ripe, reducing the number of harvest passes from 10 to 15 to only four or five.
Many Seminis growers have already trialed this variety in their fields and have been impressed with the quality of the melons, expressing that they have flavor more similar to a traditional melon. With this variety, they’re able to get the benefits of a 28-day shelf life, while still delivering consistent quality all the way to the store.
Seminis Melon Breeder, Jeff Mills, has been able to build on these traits and develop a pipeline of material that will bring even more innovative variety launches in the coming months. To hear more from Jeff and learn about the advancements Seminis is making with melon, watch our breeder spotlight series.