Richard Hope Crane arrived in California from Missouri for the Gold Rush in 1849. He had been a farmer his whole life, like all of his forefathers. He mined gold for several years before arriving in Sonoma County in 1852. Oliver Crane, the son of Richard H. Crane, developed the Crane Melon in the early 1900s by crossing several varieties of melons, including a Japanese melon, a white melon, a Persian melon and an ambrosia melon among others.
The Crane melon averages 4-7 pounds, is round like a soccer ball, and has a light orange flesh that is highly aromatic. The fruit is exceptionally sweet and juicy. As Jennifer Crane—the sixth generation to own and operate the Crane Ranch and grow the Crane melon—explains, “The Crane melon’s flavor is due to its terroir. The melon was developed to be grown on the land that’s been in the Crane family for nearly 160 years—in a particular soil, within a specific climate zone, farmed in a certain style.”
The Crane Melon is almost never found in conventional stores. The melons do not have the shelf life for shipping because they are vine ripened. At the Crane Ranch they are picked ripe daily when in season from September 1 to October 31 (on an average year).
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