ROCKY FORD, Colo. (AP) -- Farmers are starting their harvest of Rocky Ford cantaloupes.
The Rocky Ford Growers Association says that when pickers headed to the fields Friday, they were getting a late start on the harvest. The association says growers thought they could start harvesting a week ago, but the fruit hadn't quite ripened due in part to the drought.
Rocky Ford growers were hurt by a listeria outbreak in 2011, even though the outbreak was traced to cantaloupes grown 90 miles away. The region's farmers collectively planted a small crop the following year.
The growers association says the 550 acres of Rocky Ford cantaloupes that farmers planted this year is more than double the acreage planted last year, but it's still not at capacity due to a continuing drought.