So imagine my glee when I learned that this Saturday is – drum roll please – Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Day!
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’d eat any melon other than a Rocky Ford-branded one because of last year’s deadly listeria outbreak. The facts are, the outbreak occurred at a farm nearly 100 miles southeast of Rocky Ford that marketed melons as coming from Rocky Ford. Melons grown in and around the immediate Rocky Ford vicinity were – and are – 100 percent safe to eat.
But as we’ve all seen, it takes just one bad actor – or in BBB’s case phishing scammer – to tarnish a brand. How a company or organization responds speaks volumes about its trustworthiness. And just like Rocky Ford melon farmers, the BBB has had to work hard to protect its brand. So we can definitely relate.
To combat negative publicity, and to ensure the Rocky Ford label is used correctly, growers in my tiny hometown banded together and formed the Rocky Ford Growers Association. They’ve taken numerous steps to improve safety and handling of all melons, including a million-dollar washing/sanitizing machine for all melons headed to market – and instituted a marketing campaign that not-so-subtly entices you to indulge in “sweet and juicy” melons.
Most natives will tell you all you need to enjoy a Rocky Ford cantaloupe is a fork or spoon. Enjoy a slice of cantaloupe in the morning with breakfast, cantaloupe and cottage cheese for lunch, and maybe half a melon with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert at night. It doesn’t get any better.
But you can be inventive as well. Pinterest offers numerous recipes featuring the muskmelon, including cantaloupe margaritas, cantaloupe salsa, cantaloupe gazpacho, cantaloupe cake, cantaloupe lassis, cantaloupe salads, cantaloupe this and cantaloupe that.
How will you celebrate Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Day?