published on July 13, 2016 - 11:50 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno County restaurants are being encouraged to incorporate more melon on the menu.

In celebration of the county’s first California Cantaloupe Week, taking place July 25-31, the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board is sponsoring a recipe contest for local restaurants. Those that create and feature at least one menu item using fresh California cantaloupe can compete for a total of $2,000 in prize winnings.

Fresno County is the largest producer of fresh cantaloupe in the state, growing over half of California’s crop. Cantaloupes are currently being harvested and will be available from local growers until early October.

Steve Patricio, the chairman of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board and the owner of Westside Produce, a major producer of cantaloupe in Firebaugh, said restaurants that enter the contest won’t be the only winners—their cantaloupe-loving customers will be the real winners who will get to enjoy the taste of locally grown cantaloupe.

“Cantaloupe lovers who live in and around Fresno may not realize they are so close to farmland and farmers who grow this delicious sweet fruit,” Patricio said in a statement. “We want consumers to look for locally grown cantaloupe in their stores and to ask for it in local restaurants in support of the farmers and farmworkers who work hard to deliver a safe, nutritious product. Plus, it’s the best cantaloupe in the world.”

Restaurants interested in participating in the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board’s recipe contest can find contest rules and an entry form at http://californiacantaloupes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Cantaloupe-Week.pdf.

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