Dulcinea Farms LLC in Ladera Ranch, CA, grower of “Ruby Bliss” seedless watermelons and “Pure Heart” mini seedless watermelons, has expanded its mini seedless watermelon line with the introduction of a yellow seedless mini melon carrying the name “Sunny Gold.”
Last year, “we did some pre-commercial trials” of the variety, said Monique McLaws, director of marketing for Dulcinea. For the summer season this year, “we are doing what we would now consider commercial production.” The melons are being grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California, and the season will last for about a six- to eight-week period in July and August.
“We like the flavor profile [of the “Sunny Gold”] a lot, she said. “It is a true mini, and it has been well received during the summer.”
Dulcinea’s objective with the “Sunny Gold” and several other specialty melons is to have “a nice seasonal mixture” of summer items “at the same time frame out of the San Joaquin Valley,” Ms. McLaws said. So in addition to the new yellow mini, “we will continue our fourth year of production on what we call the ‘Honey Blitz,’ which is a white, netted honeydew. It has really good production in the San Joaquin area, so we will continue to grow that.”
In addition, “we are going to do some very small trials of an orange-flesh honeydew, also in the San Joaquin,” she said. It will be called “Orange Bliss.” Still in the trial stage, it is not yet in commercial production.
Dulcinea is also growing an organic version of the “Pure Heart” red mini seedless watermelon. “For our organic, we keep the same brand,” with the world “organic” added to the label, she said.
“We are taking a little bit larger approach” to production of the “Organic Pure Heart” melons this year, she said. “We are going to have some small production starting out of Arizona” and then moving into the San Joaquin Valley.
“It really takes some dedicated growing” to grow the “Sunny gold,” she said. “It likes not to be stressed, so anything outside of the San Joaquin, where the weather might be a little bit more challenging … I don’t think we are quite ready to go into yet.”
Dulcinea is giving a lot of thought to its branding of the various melon and watermelon varieties, and is also producing visuals for use at retail “to help consumers at store levels” understand what each melon is and what to expect. For example, “on the yellow mini, we call out that the flesh is yellow inside. On our orange honeydews, we call out that the flesh is orange inside,” she said. “It enhances the shopping experience of our consumer” and avoids having customers get home with a melon and find, when they cut it open, that it is different than they anticipated.
“All of our trading partners have been very happy with the signage and the labeling that we are doing on these products,” added John McGuigan, general manager at Dulcinea.