Hagerman—The Hagerman valley along the Snake River is perfect for melon crops. Watermelon and cantaloupe from this strip of land are renowned for quality and flavor.
Hagerman watermelon is wrapping up another successful season, we visited with the farm manager and partner Shawn Scoresby:
“Starting out in the spring we mark out our fields we actually plant wheat strips between each row for wind protection,” said Scoresby.
“Come harvest time we will get a seal out of some of those practices and we have a crew that goes through and cuts them, decides which watermelon is ripe and ready to go, they’ll roll them over that makes it easier for the next crew to identify. And as they come through we pick them up and put them on the conveyer belt we have, it does most the work for them, loads them up in the trailer. We then pull them off and pack them into trailers,” added Scoresby.
From the field, the melons make it back to the sorting yard.
“Then we bring them back here to our yard where they are unloaded again by hand onto the conveyor sorting system that weighs them and sorts them according to sizes. We pack them into bins according to size out there,” according to Scoresby.
The melons are stored until shipment, often just hours out of the field.
“We use the H2A program to help with the labor, under that program we have 16 workers. We have just over 30 workers to bring in the harvest overall,” says Scoresby, “most of our staff comes in sits about one day and goes out the next day,” he says.
Some of the melons are shipped immediately and make their way through distribution channels according to Scoresby.
“At the distribution center, they rarely sit longer than a couple of days before they make it out to the stores. But the time the stores have them for a few days, the consumer picks up a fresh melon, and the quicker we can get them out, the product is much better,” said Scoresby.