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Taste of Summer 

Crane Melon Barn sells honey in rind

click to enlarge JOHN LOO
  • John Loo

The family at Crane Melon Barn has harvested their sweet and juicy Crane melons for some 85 years. The season runs from about Sept. 1 to the end of October, and this year the descendants of the original Cranes will have melons for sale once again. They also sell yellow-meat watermelons that taste like honey. Both the Crane melons and the watermelons are vine-ripened and locally grown.

Sonoma County residents probably know the aroma and flavor of the Crane melon, but probably aren't as familiar with the yellow watermelons grown in the same field. "In Texas, most watermelons are yellow," Rick Crane says. "We've giving Northern Californians a taste of Texas."

As with other fruits, it's helpful to know how to select a good melon. The softness or hardness of the rind is a useful indicator. So is the color. If it's golden, it's probably ripe. Like Gravenstein apples, Crane melons offer a small window of opportunity. It's best to call ahead for availability.

Crane and his wife, Cindy, practically live in the barn seven days a week during harvest. "It's hard work, but I look forward to it," Cindy Crane says. "There's nothing better than selling a product with your name on it that you feel passionate about."

Crane Melon Barn. 4935 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa. 707.795.6987.

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