by Victor Lopez
PECOS-- In West Texas, it's just not summer without Pecos Cantaloupes. At one point, some thought there wouldn't be any this year.
Now, thanks to one packing company and some local growers, the cantaloupe season is officially here.
With the Davis Mountains silhouetted in the background, day one of harvest time in Pecos came to an end.
From the field to the packing plant, Efrain Cuellar and L&M Produce Company are making sure "this year", Texas families get one of their summer time favorites, "It's going to be retailers, HEB, Wal-Mart. And our cantaloupes are all going to stay in Texas."
It's a local operation. The owner of the packing plant is also one of 4 growers supplying the melons. They have about 200 acres, 4 fields for cantaloupe and 3 for honeydew melons.
The season is getting off a little later than normal. But according to Cuellar, that just means you'll be able to enjoy these tasty treats that much longer, "It's the first week of July through August. Ours is going to extend into September, because we planted late. Depending on the weather, our honey dews could stretch out as much as 2 1/2 months, so we could be still harvesting in October."
There's one thing you'll want to look for at your local grocery store. All the information you need on a little sticker that lets you know you are getting an authentic Pecos Cantaloupe. Cuellar says, they had one made especially for them, "We have a graphics department for our company and they did that with the cowboy and the State of Texas and on top it says Pecos Cantaloupes. They're going to make sure, that it "is" a Pecos Cantaloupe."
L & M may be new to the area, but they are sure consumers will get the same quality cantaloupe they've grown to love and look forward to every year, "I've already tested the cantaloupes and the sugar level is real high."
Possibly what people look forward to most, is that first sweet bite, and according to Cuellar, "Oh yeah, they're going to get it."