PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Rocky Ford Growers Association farmers survey snow-covered fields

Some fields may need replanting after 6-8 inches of heavy wet snow and 2 nights of freezing temps

Saturday, April 29, 2017 — The family farmers of the Rocky Ford Growers Association are out today, inspecting their freshly-planted fields after 6-8 inches of heavy, wet snow fell overnight in the Rocky Ford area.

It's not clear yet what effect the snow will have on the cantaloupe crop that's just been planted. RFGA member fields are planted in a staggered pattern- every few days- to mitigate damage done by storms like this, and to spread out the harvest at the end of the season.

"The seeds that are still in the ground stand a chance of making it through this storm," says Michael Hirakata, president of the Rocky Ford Growers Association and co-owner of Hirakata Farms.

"We'll have to see what damage is done when the snow melts, and we'll replant any crop we've lost to the freeze," says Proctor Produce owner Matthew Proctor.

Late spring storms like this are all in a day's work for the family farmers of the Rocky Ford Growers Association. Long-range weather forecasts and generations of local farming knowlege help determine planting dates each spring, but Mother Nature always always gets the final word.

But don't worry, any cantaloupe lost in this freeze will be replanted to make sure those sweet, delicious Rocky Ford Cantaloupe start rolling into grocery stores and farmer's markets by mid-to-late July.


Rocky Ford Growers Association April 29, 2017 Snow Day

A look at a freshly-planted cantaloupe field. The seeds that haven't sprouted may make it through the storm.
Matthew Proctor of Proctor Produce and Michael Hirakata, RFGA president and co-owner of Hirakata Farms, inspect a freshly-planted cantaloupe field by brooming the snow off the mulch to see if the cantaloupe seeds have sprouted. Seeds that haven't sprouted may make it through the snow and freezing temps, seedlings will likely be lost and need to be replanted.
Some seedlings that have already sprouted may freeze and need to be replanted.