Once again, a successful California Cantaloupe season has just about come to an end. While we’ll miss having our favorite sunny, sweet and safe melon this Winter and Spring, it’s nice to know we can count on seeing them in stores once again come April.
Another thing we’ve learned we can count on is the return of our hardworking farmworkers each season. Cantaloupes are 100% harvested by hand. That means that without the hard work of farmworkers these melons would not make it out of the field and into your homes.
“Farmworkers are critical to what we do”, says Garrett Patricio, President of Westside Produce. “When you look at the food you eat, whether it’s melons, leafy greens or other vegetables, most of them are still hand harvested. So if you enjoy fresh produce I think you should go out and thank a farmworker.”
California farmworkers are truly essential to us all. With over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts grown in California, our farmworkers play a critical role in feeding the nation.
And our California cantaloupe farmworkers do so in a way that ensures only the safest melons end up on your table. California cantaloupe farmworkers follow strict food safety guidelines and all California cantaloupe growers, packing operations, and cooling facilities in the state undergo mandatory government food safety audits.
“Our farmworkers follow all food safety policies and general safety policies to ensure you’re getting the safest melons harvested that day”, says Salvador Alaniz, Director of Harvest and Quality Control at Westside Produce.
Getting cantaloupes to consumers isn’t an easy task. There’s no denying the fact that it’s hard work harvesting melons and it takes a whole team to successfully complete the job each season.
Rosa Meza, Director of Food Safety says that the key to success is mutual respect. She explains that she has earned the respect of the farmworkers by making frequent, in person visits to the fields to talk with workers and lead by example.
“The one thing that everyone needs to take away from this is that we can’t do this alone”, says Meza. “I’m a part of this group. I’m a part of the farmworkers, I’m a part of the facility workers. It takes everyone to come together, be the example, follow the rules and do it as a team.”