(July 6) Cantaloupe grower-shippers are optimistic markets will strengthen once the Georgia deal ends in the East and the desert deal ends in the West.

Midwest Marketing Co. Inc., Vincennes, Ind., was set to wrap up its Georgia cantaloupe deal about July 7 before moving to Indiana, said Kelly Tyner, salesman. The company also will continue to source some melons from South Carolina and North Carolina, he said.

“We got rain when we very much needed it and should have decent supplies through July,” he said. “The quality looks really good. It’s a very pretty looking crop.”

Midwest production transitions from the athena variety — prominent in the Southeast — to eclipses and aphrodites in Indiana, Tyner said.

Some late, heavy rains in the growing season held brix levels in the 10-11 ranger at the opening of the deal, Tyner said, but by the middle of the first week of July, they were expected to be in the 12-15 range.

Retailers also can expect big fruit this summer, Tyner said. Twenty-four inch bins of 80s and 90s will be abundant, he said, with volumes lower on 110s and 120s.

Markets for cantaloupes should strengthen in July, Tyner said. The last two weeks of June saw prices dip below $1 per melon, but those should climb to the $1.25 range fairly quickly, Tyner predicted.

On July 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $4.50-5 for ½ cartons of cantaloupes 9-15s from California and Arizona, up from $3.50-4.50 last year at the same time.

Danny Andrews, sales manager for Robert S. Andrews, Bakersfield, Calif., reported a mixed bag at the end of his company’s Bakersfield cantaloupe deal in the first week of July.

“We’re not too happy with the price, but the quality and volumes are good,” he said.