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A Turlock summer tradition
Melon stand open for the season
melon stand 1
Hanna Sampson, Theodora Sampson and Larry Sampson pick out a few fresh melons from the Turlock Fruit Company’s melon stand on Tuesday. - photo by Kristina Hacker

It’s melon season in the San Joaquin Valley and that means the return of a beloved Turlock fruit stand.

Turlock Fruit Company opened its seasonal melon stand on Tuesday and, despite the triple-digit heat, locals lined up to purchase fresh watermelons, cantaloupe and other specialty melons like orange dew and Golden Hami.

Larry Sampson was at the Turlock Fruit Stand on Tuesday, along with his daughter and granddaughter who were visiting from Southern California.

“I look forward to when they’re going to be open. It’s one of the benefits of living in Turlock,” said Sampson.

While Turlock Fruit Company founder James “Cantaloupe” Smith started growing melons in the area in 1918, current owner Don Smith said that the melon stand has only been a seasonal offering for the past 15 years.

“People kept coming into the main warehouse and wanting this or that (melon). So, I bought a barn and put it up to sell melons. It’s like the movie, ‘if you build it they will come.’ And they did,” Smith said.

While locals like the ability to purchase fresh melons from a local grower, Turlock Fruit Company is one of the largest producers of melons in the region and ship melons all over the world.

The Turlock Fruit Company’s melon stand usually runs from July to September. For updates on varieties offered at the melon stand each week, visit Turlock Fruit Company on Facebook or Instagram.